It’s (essentially) official. Ryan’s Rally LLC will have a physical presence. I secured office space, insured the premise, and made my way through the maze of red tape. The annual lease begins on March 15th. The address is: 207 E. Holly Ave., #211, Sterling, VA 20164. They call it a suite, but it’s really the exact opposite of a suite… whatever that is. It’s old and run-down, but that’s okay, the price was right… very right. I’m not there to impress anyone with appearance anyhow. I’m there for what Ryan and I have to offer, and for what it has to offer us in return.
To clarify once again, this has everything to do with Ryan and people like him. My intent is to make a lot of money, yes, but not for me (I’m not drawing a salary or getting any other financial benefit) or anyone else… it’s for the cause. Every penny will be reinserted back into this cause. Also, please be assured that none of your donations or any money from Ryan’s Special Needs Trust Fund was used. It never will be either and I wrote that into the Articles or Organization (mainly in case something happens to me). Your donations and the Trust are for Ryan entirely, no exceptions! Ryan’s Rally LLC is a separate entity that heavily relies on volunteer space and time until it is (hopefully) self-sustaining.
I thought I had a solid lead on getting free office furniture, but that fell through yesterday. Damned be the timing on that! I won’t let this stop me. No way! If it comes right down to it, I’ll lay a piece of plywood across milk crates and call it a desk. I joke, of course, but you get the idea. What I can do is ask you if you have any office furniture that you’d be willing to donate. I already have a desk and office chair in our home office that I’ll be taking with me. But, a conference table with chairs is a top priority. I’d also be interested in a vinyl or leather couch (because it’s easily cleaned and doesn’t pick-up allergens) that Ryan, visitors, or I could relax on. Beyond these basics, everything else is icing on the cake (I like German Chocolate).
Really, my biggest challenge might be getting all the supplies necessary for Ryan’s daily care over there. In some ways, I must duplicate much of what I have at home. Anyone have a cargo van and a few hardy guys? Although you wouldn’t hear me belly-aching if ladies showed up to do it!
The premise is 700 square feet, laid out in an L-shape around a small, private office. This configuration actually works exceptionally well and defines areas for specific functions. I see four: private office (already built), therapy, conference, reception/other. Perfect! This will be a wonderful place for volunteers to come together to plan and contribute.
The building sits back from the road and is hardly even noticeable. People would need a reason to go in to it. Again, this is desirable since I don’t want random, walk-in traffic from people I don’t know. It also lets me control the environment to keep Ryan safe from germs.
I also like that the building’s location. It’s literally a skip-and-a-hop across the small parking lot to emergency services! The fire department is within shouting distance. Also, an in-and-out store (think of it as a 7-Eleven wanna-be) is 30 steps away on the opposite side and there is a CVS pharmacy and grocery market within walking distance.
I have so much that I want to do. Deciding what to tackle first is a good problem. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably try to have every project running at once (given people are willing to help, that is). I’m already working on many of these now anyhow, but here is my list:
- Bone Therapy/Other Therapy.
- Advocacy/Patient’s Rights.
- Victim Support/Advocacy/Resources.
- Appreciation Day (Pig Roast) Event.
- Donation Enhancement/Fundraising/Grants.
- Anti-Parole Petition Signatures.
- Criminal Accountability/Legislation.
- Social, Broadcast, and Print Media Reach and Interaction.
- Sports/Fan Violence.
- Brain Injury Recovery Research/Trials.
- Helping Sue with Administrative Stuff (It’s overwhelming!).
- Tactile Stimulation Therapy Development/Research.
- Contributing Author in Duke University Book (based on “Finding Consciousness” conference) .
- Ryan’s Story.
- Public Speaking/Lectures.
Which reminds me, I will be a guest speaker on Friday, March 15th (the same day Ryan’s Rally LLC physically opens for business) at West Virginia University. For those who live near Morgantown, please see if you can stop by (or even attend the entire 4:00 PM session) and say hello! I’ll give more details as the day gets closer since this is by invitation only. To be explicitly clear, anyone with a legal interest in/for Austin Vantrease or Jonathan May is NOT invited! Anyways, for those who dare, perhaps you can come out with me, my daughter, and her friends afterwards as we paint the town. Fair warning, the call me K-Pimpin’ and if you want to run with the big dog you have to put up with the fleas!
You see, even though I listed fifteen projects, It’s more like three or four since they overlap. I liken this to the Ten Commandments, where I could get it down to two principles (when I was a religious man): 1) Respect God, and 2) Don’t be a dick when it comes to your fellow-man. Okay, that’s overly simple but, really, isn’t that what it’s all about (and a bit sad that we humans need it itemized out for us)? Okay probably not. But, can we all agree that it’s a good start?
Not Without You
Team Diviney is entering a new and exciting phase. I wonder where it will take us? Thank you, again-and-again… from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to set the course. For providing the resources. The love. The compassion. Without you, none of this is possible. Believe me, I know how much you trust me and it is humbling. Just like I am toward Ryan, I don’t want to let you down. No, it’s more than that. I want to impress you. You must believe that I will never quit and that good enough is, well, never good enough. Without you I shudder to think of the opportunities missed. There is no way Ryan would be where he is.
I rely on you.
This is a new phase, one that I had hoped for years ago, but had to wait for conditions to be right. You were there… the whole time. If I learned nothing else from what we’ve been through its that what is being done takes time and I don’t make (or dare force) the schedule.
And that I can’t do it alone.