Timothy Williams knew the value of being on a team. He also recognized the sacrifices America’s veterans have made that allow our country and its citizens to enjoy untold freedoms.
Both of these realizations developed more fully during Williams’ time playing football in the late 1970s on a full-ride scholarship to Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. However, it wasn’t the sport itself that shaped these virtues in him, but rather coach Bob Waters, a famed former quarterback for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
“Coach Waters was very patriotic, and he made sure his players respected others, the flag and this country,” said Mike McDaniel, a former teammate, close friend and co-executor of Williams’ estate.
Waters’ own love for our nation profoundly influenced Williams’ affinity, especially his desire to honor veterans when he encountered them.
“Tim would see a veteran in the airport, stop, thank them for their service and talk with them. His heart went out to those who used crutches or wheelchairs, and he wanted to do something more for them,” said McDaniel.
Williams’ far-reaching appreciation of our nation’s heroes was evident in his selection of DAV as the beneficiary in his will when he died.
“Tim had a lengthy battle with myocardial infarction, so he had some time to research different organizations to leave a gift to. And he found out that DAV has a long history of helping disabled veterans who need adaptive equipment and accessibility aids,” said McDaniel. “He wanted to give to those most deserving of help, and that’s why he chose DAV.”
Playing football under a dynamic coach with loyal friends was crucial for Williams in his formative years as a young college student. As his last days drew near, his final wishes included honoring the coach who’d instilled those bedrock values—patriotism, respect and team spirit—by helping disabled veterans through the DAV community of care.