Iola hosts fourth annual memorial event
By Holly Neumann
The fourth annual Dylan John Thorne Memorial Ride took place Sunday, July 17, in Iola, to help raise awareness to the consequences of drinking and driving.
Over 200 people participated in the event.
Thorne lost his life on July 19, 2012, when a drunk driver crossed the center line of the road and struck his vehicle.
“We have put a lot of time and tears into this and thank you for supporting this cause,” said Tami Thorne, who is Dylan’s aunt. “If we can save one family from having to go through what we did four years ago, then that is what we want to do. Let’s make sure today and in the future everyone gets home safe.”
Funds raised from the ride will be used to construct locker room facilities in Thorne’s honor at Thunderbird Field in Scandinavia, where the teen once played.
According to Dylan’s mother, Liz Thorne, $70,000 of the $150,000 needed to complete construction has already been raised.
“No mother ever wants to think that her child will be forgotten,” said Liz. “The locker room will help keep his story alive.”
She said that since Dylan’s death, people have changed the way they have fun.
“I feel so blessed that this has happened,” she said. “They now realize that you don’t have to drink to have fun. And if it changes one person’s habits, then that means it will ultimately change someone’s life for the better.”
Scott Erickson, Head football coach at Iola-Scandinavia, applauded Liz and her husband Tim for making something positive out of a negative situation.
“It’s overwhelming the lengths that they are going to, to make this happen, in the memory of their son,” said Erickson. “People need to be reminded often of the issue of drinking and driving and what it can do. This has been a tragedy that has affected all of us greatly.”
Monte Dannettella was one of the people that participated in the ride.
“I have been on a lot of rides over the years,” he said. “This is by far the best one. The riders are respectful, there are people clapping and waving along the route; it’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Dannettella said that he never knew Dylan.
“I found out about Dylan when I moved up here a couple of years ago,” he said. “I don’t think Dylan can ever be forgotten because of the people in this community that knew him. The money raised is going to build locker rooms for the football team, but I don’t think it is going to stop there. There is so much more to do in his name, to remember the person he was, and how his life was taken so insensibly.”
According to Liz, once the funding goal has been reached for the locker rooms, the Memorial Ride will continue to raise funds for other causes that Dylan would have supported.
Construction crews are expected to break ground for the locker rooms within the next two weeks.