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In My Community
Jon Reiss - Cutting for a Cure
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After 35 years of negotiating the risks of others, while owning Countryside Insurance, Jon Reiss, 64, was encouraged to take a step back from behind his desk and shine light on a different area of life. Jon was diagnosed five years ago with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s. The disease tends to progress more quickly in these individuals.

When the disease began to take its toll on Reiss in April of 2013, he sold Countryside Insurance and transformed his hobby of crafting cutting boards into a way to positively impact Alzheimer’s.         

Jon’s mission is to make cutting boards to sell to help raise awareness and money for research,” Pam Reiss, Jon’s wife, said.

All of the proceeds from the sale of the boards go directly to help raise awareness and research for Alzheimer’s. Since the end of 2013, Jon’s cutting boards have raised a total of $4,725 and counting.

Jon’s handcrafted boards are all made from his woodworking shop located in the basement of his Sussex home. “Jon used to do cutting boards 6 hours a day,” Pam said. As Jon’s Alzheimer’s continues to progress, he no longer is able to complete all of the steps in making the boards. While his wife is at work, his daughter-in-law and caregiver, Tammra, lends a helping hand in crafting his cutting boards. The boards come in a variety of colors and sizes. On the tag of each board holds Jon's motto, “Believe in Yourself, Don’t give up, Work hard, Be happy.”

“About six months ago Jon and our daughter-in-law were talking and he said write this (motto) down and came up with the motto,” Pam said. “Now on the tags of the cutting boards we print that.”

Jon’s compassion for helping other’s began long before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina smacked the Gulf Coast, Jon felt as though he should take part in caring for the victims.

“Jon has a big heart and always has and when we heard about Hurricane Katrina he decided he felt helpless and wanted to do something,” Pam Reiss said. “He started contacting his clients and friends and asked them to donate.”

After enough donations were gathered Jon and Pam teamed up with a group from the North Lake Chamber of Commerce. Between what the team brought in and all of the donations Jon collected, they filled a whole semi full of life’s necessities for the victims of the hurricane.

As time progresses Jon’s Alzheimer’s doesn’t give him the flexibility to fulfill all of the acts of kindness he once did; however, he continues to go through life by putting a smile on the faces of others.

“Jon has a really good sense of humor and that has carried him a long way in his life just having fun and to this day he loves to make people laugh,” Pam said.


 

Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.