Don Dillon - PDGA #22726
2010 Pro Senior Legends World Champion - Cedar Lake, IN
Don Dillon Disc Golf Enthusiast
Don was born in Indiana in 1935 and graduated from Purdue University with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering in 1957 as a Distinguished Military Student. He married and entered the US Army in 1958 as an officer.
His military service included two tours in France and Germany, during which he received a Letter of Accommodation from the Belgium Government for his assistance in the emergency evacuation of Belgium personal from the Belgium Congo and the supply of Army rations to the remaining residents in the Congo. He also managed the largest inland sea container discharge operation in Germany and received a Letter of Accommodation from the German Government. Don’s stateside assignments included stevedore operations at Cape Canaveral as part of the astronaut program and management duties as part of the Atomic Energy Testing facilities at Las Vegas NV. He was also assigned to Infantry duties at Ft Benning where he was a Company Commander and his company loaded and ready for deployment to Cuba. While at Ft Benning, he earned the RANGER Tab and AIRBOURNE Badge.
The Army sent him to the University of Tennessee for an MS degree in Transportation and Industrial management. He also earned an equallivant MS degree from the Army’s Command and General Staff school at Ft Leavenworth KS. This was followed by assignment to Vietnam as the first American Advisor to the Vietnamese Stevedore Battalion. He was awarded the Medal of Honor from the Vietnamese Army and the Bronze Star from the senior US military command. Later, he returned to Vietnam for a second tour as the transportation staff officer for port operation throughout Vietnam. He again received the Bronze Star for his efforts. He returned to the US and was responsible for logistical assistance to all US Army installations East of the Mississippi River. Upon dissolution of that mission he became the Transportation Chief for the Army’s organization in charge of the Foreign Military Aid program. Later, he became commander of the unit, and upon retirement in 1979, was awarded the Legion of Merit.
After retirement, he turned a hobby of carving wood cookie molds into a business. His carvings were sold from coast to coast and a mail order business of his wife’s cookies made from his molds was established. His carvings were on exhibit in the National Museum of Switzerland as part of a special exhibition and plastic reproductions entirely decorated the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree on the mall in Washington DC for three years. He and his wife were featured in several national magazines and catalogs.
Upon retiring from carving, Don entered the world of hot air ballooning. He logged over 4000 hours of flying that included 9 foreign countries to include flying solo over part of the Austrian Alps. He also received and accepted an invitation to join10% of the world’s balloonists to celebrate the 200th anniversary of France’s revolution. He managed a 50 balloon event at Hershey Park, Pa. that drew over 250,000 spectators over a three day weekend and was voted the best balloon event in the US by the pilots and crews for two years in a row.
Retiring from Ballooning he looked around for an outdoor activity that was inexpensive, offered a challenge, was self-starting and available. While vacationing, he was introduced to Disc Golf and with the help of two players in the area; he began a new activity in 2004. Being several years older that the local players, he called the PDGA and asked where he could play with his peers. They responded that he could play in the 2005 Pro Worlds being held at Allentown, PA near his home. This started a chain reaction that resulted in being given the PDGA 2007 Senior Player of the Year award and winning the 2010 World Championship in the age group of 75-80.
Realizing the health benefits of playing Disc Golf and knowing how few seniors were aware of the sport, Don started a campaign to introduce seniors in the local area to the sport. This resulted in information presentations to local senior facilities and eventually, the installation of disc golf courses in two retirement facilities, a township park and church camp grounds. Next, he turned his goal to a national campaign. After establishing the PDGA Senior Committee, he had a platform to reach out to the thousands of PDGA members and national organizations to promote the sport for seniors. Articles were written for national and local publications. National originations were contacted such as each state’s game departments, the Veteran’s Administration, and the National Senior Games organization. This resulted in several states including disc golf in their state games and in 2013; the National Senior Games included disc golf as a Demonstration Sport.