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Ronald Rein has been a member of the Lee & Cates Glass family since December of 1998. He works as a Purchasing Agent and Warehouse Manager for our flat glass division in Jacksonville. But when his immediate family sustained a life-altering jolt, he took on the “part-time job” that he regards as his true calling.

In 2007, Ron’s father, Jack Rein, Sr., learned that he had Type II Diabetes. Just four years later, on Christmas Eve 2011, Jack died from the disease.

When Ron learned of his dad’s diagnosis, he took action.

Since 2007, he’s been involved with the American Diabetes Association, raising money to fight the disease. It’s a condition that affects more than 25 million adults in this country. Astonishingly, another 79 million Americans are thought to be pre-diabetic.

Diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, neuropathy and amputation. It’s estimated that, in 2007, diabetes contributed to more than 231,000 deaths in the U.S.

So, each year, Ron participates in the Tour De Cure, a series of bicycle rides organized by the Jacksonville office of the American Diabetes Association. The rides range from 14 miles to 100 miles. Ron pulls together a group of riders called Team SubVets – a reference to his naval career – who bike to raise funds to battle a terrible disease.

Since they began riding, Ron and his team have raised more than $13,000 for ADA Jacksonville.

As the Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in St. Marys, Georgia, Ron also contributes to that organization’s efforts to raise $5 million to help fund the new Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa.

Ron says that, since he lost his father in 2007, fighting diabetes has been at the top of his priority list, and that he’ll continue to give his time, effort and money to put a stop to the disease. Ron realizes that it’s too late for his dad, but he continues to help the push for a cure, knowing that it will one day spare millions of families the type of pain he’s endured.

(Photo of the Tour de Cure from the American Diabetes Association.)