Maj. Jeremy Ditlevson and Adriane (Blewitt) Wilson

While competing at Army Trials, Jeremy Ditlevson has unexpected reunion with fellow AU grad

Published on May 06, 2024
Ashland University

Maj. Jeremy Ditlevson was almost 100% sure how he knew Adriane Wilson when he first saw her a few months ago at Fort Liberty in North Carolina.

It took Wilson and his wife, Jeralyn, a little while longer to figure it out.

He kept pointing at Wilson and finally got his wife to walk over to her with him.

“He approached her to try to say he knew who she was,” Jeralyn said. “Jeremy has aphasia, which is the inability to speak, but he can get a few words out.”

When Wilson started asking him if he wanted to talk about track and field, assuming he was excited about throwing the shot put and discus for the event they were at, the 2024 Army Trials, which is for wounded, ill and injured active duty and veteran military members to compete in adaptive sports, he kept touching her arm and gesturing to her.

“After a few guesses we figured out he wanted to know about my throwing,” said Wilson, a Team Army coach who competed in three U.S. Olympic Trials in the shot put. “Finally, we all pieced together that Jeremy and I knew each other from over 20 years ago at Ashland University.”

Once everyone involved realized that connection, Jeremy had the biggest smile and was laughing with excitement.

They didn’t attend AU at the same time, however. Ditlevson, who graduated in 1997 with a biochemistry degree, was still working in Ohio when Wilson, whose maiden name is Blewitt, competed as a thrower for the Eagles from 2001 to 2004, and he would see her working as a waitress in Linder’s Sports Bar and Grill in downtown Ashland during her AU years.

“It was not only an incredible reunion under unusual circumstances, but a heartwarming realization that despite the physical brain damage caused by the stroke, Jeremy still has the memories to reminisce,” Wilson said. “It makes me feel so good that at one point in our lives, our friendship and interactions at a local eatery could withstand a massive stroke and bring so much joy to us all because we know there is so much more he wants to share.”


Jeremy Ditlevson

After Jeremy had a massive stroke on Jan. 17, 2023, Jeralyn was concerned about his memory because of brain damage from it, so the interaction with Wilson was a real joy to see.

“It was so exciting to witness him remember someone from 20 years ago,” she said. “I was concerned about his memory from the loss of brain function due to the stroke, but as we pieced the puzzle together from his limited communication it was so fascinating to see his puzzle come together.”

It’s one of the many areas Jeremy has gone beyond what doctors thought would be possible for him after the stroke.

At first, doctors weren’t sure if he would live through the stroke. Once he did that, they didn’t think he would ever get out of bed or a wheelchair, but he is now able to walk with a cane.

And he keeps remembering more and more from years ago.

Because he has a major neurocognitive disorder, Jeremy will always need a caregiver. His wife had to resign from her job for the government as a GS employee to become his full-time caregiver.

“Being a full-time caregiver can be very stressful,” Jeralyn said. “But nothing brings me more joy than to see him progress every day and see that he can keep fighting. I wouldn’t be anywhere else but by his side.”

In addition to developing aphasia from the stroke, Jeremy has limited use of his right leg, his right arm is completely immobile, he has partial vision impairment, and he lost the ability to read and write.

>Through therapy, Jeremy has been able to participate in adaptive sports, which brought him to North Carolina’s Fort Liberty for the Team Army Trials and in contact with Wilson, who works as a personal trainer in addition to coaching Team Army.

“I have been coaching Team Army since 2016, and in that time, I have met some incredibly brave and resilient soldiers in the Adaptive Reconditioning Program,” Wilson said. “Combat injuries, accidents, cancer and other illnesses interrupted the lives of each soldier who pledged their lives to defend our country. Every year I am fortunate to witness how adapted sport can elevate a soldier's recovery back to active-duty status or open doors to a new purpose after retirement.”

Because Jeremy did so well at the Army Trials in March he will compete in swimming, indoor rowing, air rifle, discus and shot put at June’s Department of Defense Warrior Games in Orlando, which includes participants from all the service branches.

“I was so impressed with Jeremy’s competitive drive in all the events he participated in at Army Trials,” Wilson said. “I have no doubt Jeremy will continue to improve in his sports leading up to the Warrior Games in June but also bring home some medals for his performance.”


Jeremy Ditlevson

When Jeremy suffered his stroke, he was just six months from reaching his goal of 20 years of active-duty service. Through Facebook, Jeralyn asked anyone who ever served with her husband to write a letter of recommendation for him as they were applying for him to receive his 20-year retirement.

“Luckily, we were able to get to 20 years, so he will actually retire with 20 years and 27 days. His actual retirement date is set for May 23, 2024,” Jeralyn said. “Seeing all the support from his former soldiers, his peers and his former leaders was absolutely amazing. I knew he was a good leader and a good soldier, but to see their outpouring of support, and the letters that they wrote about him just melted my heart and gave me more knowledge of how truly humble and great he is.”

The Facebook post resulted in comments like this: “He was one of the best platoon leaders when I was a platoon sergeant. I’d be honored to help him.”

During his military career, Ditlevson, who found his calling in the Army after working a variety of jobs between his AU graduation and enlisting, served four deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. He also met his wife while they were both assigned to Fort Hood, now known as Fort Cavasos, in Texas.


Jeralyn and Jeremy Ditlevson

While she grew up in Las Vegas, he graduated from high school in Nebraska and then moved and went to college in Ashland when his father, Paul, got a job in 1992 at Ashland University as the director of legacy estate programs, which he had until his death in 2010.

Jeremy and Paul Ditlevson


This year will be the couple’s 14th wedding anniversary.

The Soldier Recovery Unit (SRU) flew the Ditlevsons from their home in Lawton, Oklahoma, just south of Fort Sill, to Fort Liberty in North Carolina for the Army Trials, which the two will never forget for how well Jeremy did at them and for the heartwarming reunion with fellow AU grad Wilson.

“Army Trials were great,” Jeralyn said. “It was amazing to watch Jeremy cheer on his fellow soldiers and see that his recovery really showed his determination, strength and motivation.”

Jeralyn and Jeremy Ditlevson