Wyatt pours time into veterans’ programs

Published 12:13 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

“It doesn’t matter how much pain you are in; it’s about doing what you have to do to survive,” William Wyatt said.

He is a prime example of what it means to be a survivor.

He has endured many hardships, and shown courage in the face of adversity.

He has battled six different cancers, left without the use of his natural voice because of larynx cancer and now forced to use a Servox to speak, lives with Type 2 diabetes, and has spent the past three years in an electric wheelchair.

Using his disability as a stepping stone, through volunteerism Wyatt has spent the past several decades sending the message to others with disabilities that they must focus on what they can do, not what they cannot do.

After an eight-year tenure with Alabama’s Department of Veterans Affairs, Wyatt retired last year as the longest-serving veteran on the VA Board.

During his tenure, the department established four veterans homes.

He served on the VA Board with Gov. Kay Ivey as chairwoman, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Military Officers Association of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Marine Corps League, American Ex-Prisoners of War (POW), Military Order of Purple Heart, American Veterans (AMVET) and Disabled American Veterans.

He represented the American Legion on the board.

He is a proud participant with the disabled organizations.

At Christmas, he visits programs where he and other veterans spend time and play games with residents confined to the hospital and veterans homes.

This Air Force veteran challenges defeat daily face-to-face on a personal basis.

However, he remains unwavering in his tireless effort to help better the lives of disabled and non-disabled veterans.

Wyatt is one of the founders of the Blue Star Salute Foundation, an organization honoring our military, veterans and our fallen heroes.

Wyatt’s commitment extends to involvement with Wreaths Across America, an annual wreath laying ceremony at National Cemeteries across the country, to remember and honor fallen veterans. He is a founding member of Support Committee of the Alabama National Cemetery (ALNC).

He has been a member of the American Legion Post 43 for over 46 years and a past member of Veterans of Foreign Wars. He has been a member of Shelby County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) since 2009 and has logged nearly 15,000 volunteer hours.