A locally established non-profit organization is closing its doors after eight years in operation.
Dylan’s Drivers, a safe ride program serving Lamar County, was established by parents Ronnie & Vicki Ballard in memory of their son Dylan Ballard. He lost his life in an alcohol-related vehicle accident in 2011. The organization is based solely on volunteers who donate their time, along with area businesses that help financially support the program, who’s mission was to provide free, safe, and confidential rides home for Lamar County residents.
Since its inception in 2011, the non-profit organization has given 14,389 rides to community members in Lamar County. Over the years, they have worked closely with various community organizations, businesses, and law enforcement to develop their safe ride program. Still, due to recent events, it’s been hard to keep their program going.
“The organization relies heavily on donations, sponsorship, and fundraising, and we have seen a decline in participation over the last couple of years,” said board president Kelli Mallicote. “Our executive board has taken a strong look, and the future viability of the program and unanimously voted to dissolve the program and organization and instead honor Dylan’s legacy in a different way moving forward.”
Long time volunteers and fellow executive board members Kari Lemons, board treasurer, and Kathy Daniels, board secretary, are also active participants who have been with the program since it’s inception. Lemons said, “We really appreciate the support of our local community all these years, and I am proud to have served on the board, and I am proud of our accomplishments with the program.”
With the organization officially closing, the executive board and family members wish to continue Dylan’s legacy by donating all remaining program funds to Paris Junior College to be used for vocational scholarships. “Although we are formally dissolving the organization, we hope to be able to continue Dylan’s legacy by donating the remaining funds so area youth can further their education right here locally in our community,” said board vice president, James Hooten.
The entire board and family wish to thank all those involved over the past several years, whether it be community members volunteering time, local businesses and organizations giving monetary support, and local restaurants donating food to weekend shift volunteers. “Dylan’s Drivers was a great program that served many and kept our community safe. As we like to say around here, ‘Nothing But Love’ moving forward,” Mallicote said.