As the founder and CEO of Unity House of Davenport, a nonprofit organization providing housing and support for recovering addicts, Dennis manages seven recovery houses and an average of three new residents per week.
A voluntary deployment to Iraq in 2003 as a Department of Defense civilian inspired Dennis to open Unity House. Upon his return to the U.S., he began converting the house he was renovating into a place for recovering addicts as a way to give back to the community.
Running Unity House requires Dennis’ health and attention, both of which were hard to fully dedicate while Dennis endured the pain of a lifelong foot condition.
Dennis was 14 years old at the time of his first surgery to correct a bone in his foot that was out of place. Subsequent corrective surgeries over the years failed to heal the painful condition, and arthritis started to cause additional complications. His doctors tried cortisone injections, but the pain persisted.
His doctor recommended a surgical solution and Dennis underwent a procedure to prevent the arthritic bones from rubbing against each other. His doctor used cancellous chips, an allograft created from donated bone, during the surgery.
“I feel happy about the tissue transplant as a bit of this person lives on in me as I go through the rest of my life endeavoring to do God’s will and help others,” said Dennis. “I believe this is the same spirit in which the donor gave to me.”
Dennis’ recovery was slow and steady. He could not put any weight on his foot for six weeks, and then transitioned to crutches and a cane for six months following the surgery.
“I am able to walk today with no pain at all,” said Dennis. “I now use a stationary bicycle for exercise and I take our little dog for walks around the block. I honestly never dreamed I would be able to do this. I am so much happier today and I will be eternally grateful.”
Unity House has served over 2,000 residents since 2004, and the tissue donation offered by a generous donor will help Dennis continue to provide resources and support to those in need.