You won’t have to ask twice! Dorothy Kot will tell you in a heartbeat that she’s a VIP! We certainly think she qualifies as a VIP as well and wanted to spotlight Dorothy’s story in our first resident spotlight series.
When you meet Dorothy, she’ll quickly tell you not only that she’s a VIP, but also that she’s a Gold Star wife. Dorothy was married at age 16 right before her young husband, SSgt Leon Miller, was sent overseas while serving in the United States Army Air Corps. They were married for only a few months before he died along with 504 others aboard the SS Paul Hamilton when the ship was torpedoed. Becoming a Gold Star wife at such a young age had a huge impact on Dorothy. She began doing volunteer work with other Gold Star families and also worked as a secretary in defense plants during the war.
Originally from Meridian, Mississippi, she moved back home after the death of her first husband and fell in love with another military man. She married Lt. Joseph Kot at age 18. He was a fighter pilot and scheduled to ship out to Japan just as the war ended. Instead, the young family moved to Massachusetts and set up house and raised three children there.
Dorothy devoted herself not only to raising her children, but also to becoming involved in local affairs. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a member of Eastern Star. Dorothy also ran the advertising and circulation desk for the Berkshire Eagle in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and worked on the weekends at the local hospital’s dietary department while her children were in high school, prep school, and college. Upon retirement, she continued to be very involved in the local community by volunteering to care for seniors who were ill. Everyone in the small Massachusetts town knew Dorothy, and she still makes sure everyone knows who she is! She loves to tell visitors about her background.
Among her prized possessions are three United States flags presented to her upon the death of her first husband during World War II, upon the death of her second husband in 1972, and upon the death of her son Wendell in 2005. Wendell served in Vietnam in the U.S. Army Rangers and achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel. He passed away in 2005 of health issues related to agent orange exposure. Dorothy’s son, Jim, lives in Atlanta, and her daughter, Debbie, lives in Madison, Alabama. They, too, have military affiliations as Jim works in the intelligence field and as managing editor of Veterans Today, and Debbie is married to a veteran who served in both the U.S. Marines and U.S. Army. We are honored to care for such a special lady and value her legacy.