About Me

Before getting into my information, everyone who visits this site must know how deeply and sincerely we appreciate your support of my family and son.  It continues to amaze me how communities have surrounded, protected, and provided for my family.  Ryan is getting the best care possible and this would never have been possible without kind and loving people. So, thanks to all prayer warriors, meal providers, donations, lawn care, Christmas lighting, cards and letters, West Virginia University, Morgantown, Morgantown Police, Ruby Memorial Hospital, Kessler, Ashburn, Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. metro area, media, doctors, nurses, aides, errand runners, attorneys, house cleaners, equipment assemblers, ramp builders, billboard advertisers, family, fraternities and sororities, fundraiser organizers and attendees, FaceBook followers, website administrators, dog watchers, CNN, WTS, therapists, emergency transports, and the many others.

I always laugh at this picture. I feel like I belong on a Beatle’s album cover.

I am Ryan’s father, Ken.  It has been a labor of love for us to tend for our son. No doubt, it is tiring and endless but not in earnest. Ryan is in the best possible condition, given the severity of his injury.  Please know it is therapy for me to work with Ryan as much as possible. I am most at peace with what happened to him when I am touching him. He, like my daughter and wife, continue to show their strength and resilience. As I say, they are made of the right stuff.

I took over this blog in mid-December, 2010. Prior to this it was being administered by a friend and co-worker. I have found it to be helpful and therapeutic to share myself in this format. I will stay with it as long as there is interest. I hope I will be with it for the rest of my life, where the posts continue to convey Ryan’s eventual recovery.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about this whole forgiveness and punishment concept that people keep telling me I need to do. Here’s how I feel. The person that can forgive Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May for what they did to Ryan, is Ryan. That is, if he chooses to some day. At this point in time, they have taken away his ability to do that so this is something they must live with.

As far as me moving on (forgiving them), in many ways, I don’t see how that would be healing. It would be like having to sit down and say “Ryan, I am okay now with what they did to you” and why should I EVER feel that way? I don’t have the time or energy to actively hate Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May with all I do for Ryan, so I don’t think it will eat a hole through me.  But if they pass through my mind, then hey, I am okay with whatever feelings I have. Frankly I resent the hell out of them, for what they did to me, precious Ryan, my family, Ryan’s friends, and for what they brought into his mom’s and sister’s life. Yep, pretty sure I can’t relieve them of accountabilty.

Dr. Petit was on the Today Show a week before we were. His whole family was killed and this is what he said on forgiveness when Oprah asked him in an interview if he forgave them: “I don’t think you can forgive the ultimate evil. You can forgive someone that steals your car. You can forgive someone that slaps you in the face. I think forgiving the essence of evil is not appropriate.”

Bottom line is, I hate this.  I understand that believing in God is a struggle for me right now, but that is why I have people believing for me. I don’t know if God allowed this to happen. I don’t know if God can fix this. I don’t know if God is paying attention.  I don’t know if there even is a God.

I do believe that whatever dictates our existence has brought an amazing community into my life to give my family the comfort they can for now. The most comforting words to hear and see are “Still here, always here, forever”.

Comments

  1. Charlie Neal says

    Ken,

    My name is Charlie and I have a son that was attacked and left for dead on April 1st, 2006; his freshman year of college. My son had fractured bones in his skull and extensive nerve damage to the head. He has slowly improved since the attack. In Jan of 2008 he started having seizures due to damage to his brain. He was having 10 to 14 seizures a day that would spin him around and pull him to the ground. The seizures would last about 30 to 45 seconds each. He lost his job and what lifestyle he had due to the seizures. In Nov of 2009 he had 3 brain surgeries to find out where the seizures were coming from in his brain. The found the source and were going to put a device in his skull that would detect the seizures. We are still waiting for the device. In Aug. of this year they operated on his left eye to correct his cross eye the nerve damage caused. He is doing better but still has a way to go to get back to what he was before the attack.

    I tell you all of this just to know that someone out here can relate to where you are. The difference in my story and yours is we don’t know who the attackers were, and I don’t have to look them in the eye and forgive them. I think it is easier to forgive or get past that part since I don’t know who did the damage. But I can say this. After all we have been through I thank God every day to have my son with me still. He has an amazing testimony and I tell people all the time sometimes God whispers and people listen, but sometimes God has to hit you in the head with a 2×4 (which we believe is part of the attack of my son was done with) to get their attention. I am proud to say that today my son knows why he is here and that he has a very close relationship with his Heavenly Father. Even though I didn’t want my son to suffer I thank God for being who he is and doing what he has through my son.

    I will keep you and Ryan in my prayers and pray for the day when you can stand by your son and celebrate his life with him as I do with my son..

    God bless you and watch over you,
    Charlie

      • Michele says

        God is our Heavenly Father and there is a reason for everything He does. He’s much smarter than us and can create a whole world and take it all away in an instant. I’ll pray for you and no, I’m not Mormon but I am a child of God and I thank Him every day. I say all of this after my only child, my son, was in a car accident, lived 6 days in a coma and was declared brain dead at age 20. I took him off life support and donated his organs. He saved four peoples lives and gave eye sight to two others. I have weekly conversations with the wonderful man that has my son’s heart – it’s been 14 years. There are no coincidences – God is in control at all times and knows how many hairs are on your head! Think about it! A Christian is a Christian – thank God I’m a believer or I would never have come this far – I will always have a part of me missing on this earth but will be reunited in Heaven one day with my son, his liver recipient and his two kidney recipients – what a beautiful thought! God only takes you when he needs you in another place!

        A true believer…. Please never give up on your Heavenly Father – He will make all the difference in what the Diviney family is going through – notice the name (Diviney) (Divine) This is a message from Him to you.

        Who do you think these thousands of people are praying to??

        Never give up on your Heavenly Father (Divine Being)!

  2. Ann-Marie says

    To Ryan’s Family…

    We do not know each other. I heard of this tragedy and have been checking this website almost daily for the last year. I don’t know what it is..of course I hear other news about other families…but I’m drawn to your family. My heart breaks for you & I often cry thinking of what you’re going through. Please know I’m here, and will continue to pray and check this website. I look forward to the day I read Ryan woke up! I believe it will happen. He has come a long way. Thank you for having this website and all the updates. Merry Christmas, Divineys.

    • Menna Girma says

      Also like you, Anne-Marie, I am drawn to Ryan and his story. On the contra ire I just saw The Today Show segment about 20 minutes ago. I searched him on Facebook to see if I could contact Ryan or his family and leave a message. I just want to extend my prayers and well wishes for Ryan’s recovery. Although I don’t know Ryan personally, it is written all over his face that he is a fighter and will continue to do so for himself and even more for his parents and sister. I admire his mother and father for caring for Ryan in the way they are doing and then I think to myself I am insulting them because that’s what any parent would do but it is tremendously evident their tireless love and care they show their son. God Bless you, The Diviney family. May you be able to see brighter days ahead with each day filled with Ryan’s’ miraculous recovery.

  3. John says

    To Ryan’s Family:
    I am from New Castle, Pa. and recently read in the New Castle News Ryan’s story. As a father of two beautiful teenagers – my heart and prayers go out not only for the family but for Ryan that through the healing hands of Jesus Christ – Ryan will gradually come back to us and begin once again offering the world all the gifts God has blessed him with. I will pray for Ryan everyday at the 3:00 hour – the hour of Great Mercy – for his healing

  4. Paula says

    Dear Ken, everything we do for you and your family is a privilege. Speaking for myself, when I first read about what happened to Ryan, I didn’t think there was much I could do to help. Then the Lord said to me, “How dare you not help them!” So that was that, Ryan has lived in my heart, mind and soul since then. There are times when I ask God, “Why?” He does not give me an answer, yet I know I must press on. I know the day will come when I will come before Him, then I will understand. For now, while on this earth, I, along with the other prayer warriors, will continue to stand on your behalf before the Lord. The Lord loves you, He loves Sue, He loves Kari, and yes, He loves Ryan. This, I know. Every one of us intercedes to the Lord on Ryan’s behalf — for comfort, healing, mercy, protection, grace, love and peace. We ask for these same things for your whole family. Each one of us has been called to do something specifically for your family. We happily obey, because we love Ryan and we love your family. I’d be a liar if I said there aren’t times when I stare at the night sky and cry for Ryan; when I see my sons smile and imagine Ryan’s smiling face; when I go to a restaurant and look around and think, “the Divineys used to do this too, but they don’t now.” I think about Kari, and her beautiful devotion to her brother, and her inordinate tenacity. She will do great things someday, but none will surpass what she is doing right now. I think about Sue, and you — and watch in wonder as you cope, and never give up. Someday I hope you will allow myself and the other prayer warriors to spend a few minutes to sit beside Ryan and pray for him — one by one. The Lord has specifically called each of us to pray for Ryan, and we do it relentlessly, passionately, and in complete faith that God is in the midst of all of this. I appreciate your honesty, thank you for it. Most of all, thank you for allowing us to be involved in your family’s life. It would be most sad for us if we could not use whatever gifts the Lord has given us to support your wonderful family. The magnitude of what you have suffered is beyond my ability to fathom, yet I must try. Please know the Lord is with you. If I know nothing else, I know this, for He puts it on my heart constantly.. Still here — for the long journey — until our Lord beckons us Home.

  5. Jane Martellino says

    Ken,
    Still here and will be here as long as you all need the support of a group of librarians from all over the USA.
    Jane
    yesgracerocks.com

  6. Kathryn Beggs Howlett says

    Ken, I am yet another person unknown to you except through this blog and facebook page for Ryan. My niece is Angela Phillips, the channel through which I heard about Ryan. I have a 22 year old son…..and every time I look at him I think of Ryan. Please know my prayers and thoughts are always with you and your family, and most especially Ryan. The power of love and prayer are great, and I pray that through all these words from people whose hearts ache for you and Ryan, that there will always be a small amount of comfort in knowing we are “Still here, still praying”. Everyday, every moment.

  7. Erin Waters says

    Hi Ken,

    My name is Erin. I heard about Ryan’s story on the Today show, and I just want to say that I am thinking of you and your family; and hope that you can find, if anything, a little bit more strength knowing that one more person supports you and wishes there was something significant I could do to lessen your burden. I used to work in a children’s hospital in an inpatient rehab unit, and unfortunately I’ve seen many young people and families going through similar situations. I hope that at the very least you will be able to have some relief in knowing that there are some of us that really care for families like yours and wish that you never had to experience anything like this. You, your wife, and daughter should be so proud of the constant and thorough care you are providing Ryan, because some children will never have such a gift.

    Sincerely,

    Erin

  8. cindy says

    hi my name is cindy . I have a special needs daughter and three other children. I will keep you in my prayers. I will pray everyday for your very special son and family.
    take care , cindy

  9. DeAnna says

    My heart is breaking for you and your family. I am the mother to a beautiful set of six year old twin boys. They are what I live for. I grumble when they wake up at 6am on the weekends but I thank God that they do wake up every day. I pray for the day when your son wakes up and he is able to wrap his arms around you and fill your home with laughter and all of the noise that comes with boys.

  10. Terrie says

    Dear Ken and family,
    Blessings to you all. I was drawn to Ryan’s story because I saw you, Ken, and your family on the Today show in December. I was at work and the couple I care for had the show on and I couldn’t stop watching. I didn’t know about this terrible day until I watched this and I cried throughout the rest of the day. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to find your website and be able to send out my prayers and thoughts to you but I have been thinking of you all since that day. Please know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers. Happy New Year to you all and may the Lord bless you with the greatest gifts of all!

  11. Greg Ruth says

    Ken, Sue and Kari,
    You are all a beautiful, loving and caring family…and, I know so happy to have each other. My pounding heart goes out you like you will never know. I also played baseball and football in HS…when I see Ryan ‘s photos it makes me tear up incredibly. One of my best buddies on both teams could have been Ryan’s twin brother. Ryan is so fortunate to have his loving support from you, friends and well-wishers. Just keep talking to him and holding him…put a baseball in his hand…let him hold it all day and night…hey, put a mit on his other hand too. He will soon wake up and give you all big hugs and kisses with his beautiful infectious smile. It will just take some very anxious and patient time. I can see it in his eyes and him trying to smile. It will happen. As a military officer, I have to throw this in…sorry…BUT, I for the love of life in me cannot understand how the two thugs, Vantrease and May got off so lightly. It really, really, really bothers me. As the Judge, I would have given them each 25 to Life and made them spend one hour a day looking at your Baby Ryan’s photographs that are posted on this website. Oh yes, one hour a day for a minimum of 25 years. One more thought…I would never forgive them. Okay on those slime ball thugs. I don’t even know you, but in a way I love you. Stay strong and be positive. GOD love you, your family and your Baby Boy Ryan.

  12. Greg Ruth says

    You are all a beautiful, loving and caring family…and, I know so happy to have each other. My pounding heart goes out you like you will never know. I also played baseball and football in HS…when I see Ryan ‘s photos it makes me tear up incredibly. One of my best buddies on both teams could have been Ryan’s twin brother. Ryan is so fortunate to have his loving support from you, friends and well-wishers. Just keep talking to him and holding him…he will soon wake up and give you all big hugs and kisses with his beautiful infectious smile. It will just take some very anxious and patient time. I can see it in his eyes and him trying to smile. It will happen. As a military officer, I have to throw this in…sorry…BUT, I for the love of life in me cannot understand how the two thugs, Vantrease and May got off so lightly. It really, really, really bothers me. As the Judge, I would have given them 25 to Life and made them spend one hour a day looking at your Baby Ryan’s photographs that are posted on this website. Oh yes, one hour a day for a minimum of 25 years. One more thought…I would never forgive them. Okay, enough on those slime ball thugs. I don’t even know you, but in a way I love you. Stay strong and be positive. GOD love your Baby Boy Ryan.

  13. Lisa G says

    Ken, I’m not sure how recent your “about me” blog is, but I felt compelled to comment. I live in Ashburn and have a junior and freshman (boys) at Broad Run (football/baseball/wrestling) and a 6th grader (girl). My older son knew of Ryan being a football and baseball athlete and the incident opened a lot of discussion within our family. Mostly it made all of us realize how very precious and fragile our world is and how quickly things can change. I have thought much about your comments on forgiveness, and while I’m sure I will be dinged for it, I am totally with you. Everyone makes choices (and 18 year olds are old enough to pay adult consequences) and when those choices completely ruin the bright future of a young man, they should pay the consequences. I think what it comes down to is what they did was unforgiveable. As you said, I don’t believe it is up to you to forgive them and make them feel better. It is up to Ryan, if and when he chooses, and God, if they believe. Keep doing what you are doing and take care of Ryan and your family. So many amazing things are happening now in science and medicine and I believe strongly that Ryan’s recovery will be a miracle story. As a mom, it breaks my heart to think of a child of mine ever being in pain and I know I could never forgive anyone deliberately causing that pain. I hope that the young man wanting his sentence lightened and moved is denied that privelege and forced to complete his justice where he was sent.

  14. Greg G says

    Diviney Family
    I also live in Ashburn, with my 9 year old son (probable future Spartan) and wife. We have seen several events and signs around the area for Ryan recently, but it wasn’t until this morning that I found your site and read and understood everything that has happened over the last 18 months (I was going to say I was too ‘busy’ to pay attention before, but that’s a joke after thinking about some of what you’ve been going through). Suffice it to say that I had tears in my eyes a few minutes in that still haven’t gone away an hour later. I’m not sure what it is about your story that touches me most. Maybe it’s the fact that I was assaulted in college as well, but obviously without the long term impact of what happened to Ryan. Maybe it’s just that I can envision something terrible happening to my son one day, and wondering it I would handle it as well as you guys seem to. Maybe it’s that I can rage against 2 other young men I’ve never met, yet who can cause such damage to so many in such a little amount of time. Or maybe it’s simply the thought of a healthy intelligent young man who lives where I live, who probably won’t get to complete his dreams.

    I don’t know. All I can add is that I will try and do what little I can to help your situatione going forward, financially or otherwise, and to keep your family in my prayers. And, if possible, a Happy Mothers Day to Ryan mom.

    Take care

  15. Jen says

    What beautiful comments from all! As a prayer warrior and now founding member of “Sue’s Crew” I will say thank you from all of us that love Ryan, Ken, Sue, Kari and the Duke/Tucker combination(Pups).

    The bringing together of this beautiful, normal, loving family and such savage anger/bravado (call it what you will) touches almost everyone. (Those few that missed the line when humanity was given out are those other’s, I digress.) Bad stuff is not supposed to happen to really good people. Unfortunately, we know in real life that is just not the case.

    Ken and each member of Team Diviney have the right to choose how they feel about what happened to Ryan. The one thing I know I have gained from this despicable act is gaining new friends for life within Team Diviney, and getting the honor of lifting this family up in prayer, everyday. I would give that back a million times over just to bring “our” Ryan back to his family and all the members of Team Diviney.

    Ken, “Sue’s Crew” will be here everyday, loving your family, praying and holding onto your faith for you~

  16. Lori says

    Ken- I don’t think you have to forgive anyone. You have every right to feel the way you do. I don’t agree with god having reasons or plans. What happens in this world everyday that is evil is just that evil. We have to cope with what happens to us- many people use god and forgiveness fine if that’s what works for them. You use what helps you and people shouldn’t force or bother you to forgive or find some reason why god has a plan. Just try to not let the anger or stress kill you find some release as those feelings come up. You are human it’s only natural I’m sorry you and your family have to deal with this. I wish and hope for the best for all of you.

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