Earlier this month, the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Minnesota and the Dakotas received their largest donation ever. The gift was announced at the Clarkfield home of Sharon and David Cornelius and comes from the Steven J. Williams Family Trust and the total donation comes to $991,000.

Originally from Clarkfield, Steven Williams passed away in March of 2018 in Nevada, where he was living at the time. Williams is a 1966 graduate of Clarkfield High School who went on to serve in Vietnam before settling down with a career at Hormel. Through his work, and a series of wise investments, Williams was able to leave behind a $14. 5 million estate trust which his surviving family members are now donating to groups specially designated by Williams.

Readers may already be familiar with the $2.8 million donation given by the Steven J. Williams Trust to the Montevideo Veterans Home, another large profile donation made possible by Williams’ goodwill.

According to the brother of Steven, Jim Williams, their father, Donavon, had limb-girdle muscular dystrophy which weakened his leg and arm muscles later in life. Despite his condition, Donavon continued to farm and lived into his early 80’s.

Speaking at the announcement event, Jim called the donation a Christmas present from his family. The Williams and Cornelius families have a very close relationship stemming from their shared experiences with muscular dystrophy. Dave and Sharon have two sons with the condition. Josh, 34, was present during the event, which intentionally coincided with the Vikings Game (Josh is an big sports fan who watches every game). His brother Joe passed away in December of 2008.

The Cornelius family also praised the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Both Josh and Joe attended summer camp offered by the association. The MDA also helps provide necessary medical equipment and connecting with the right health care professionals and care providers. According to Sharon and Dave, the MDA was key to helping keep their two boys and active in the events and activities they enjoyed doing.

According to the MDA website, the organization is the largest non-federal funder for neuromuscular disease research. The MDA serves over 3,200 families in Minnesota and the Dakotas, 79% of whom are adults impacted by the disease.

The Cornelius family was overjoyed with the donation, creating an emotional atmosphere during the announcement event. Sharon was also thankful for the good work of the MDA, telling those present that she couldn’t thank them enough for everything they do.

For more information about the work of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, please visit their website at https://www.mda.org/office/minnesotadakotas.