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Family of Ryan Dilworth remembers son with motorcycle run

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By Brian Slattery

The second  “Buckle Up for Ryan” motorcycle ride June 1 raised funds to bring distracted driving awareness into high schools.

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Ryan Chase Dilworth, 17, of Supply died April 21, 2012, in a single-car accident on Stanbury Road.

The West Brunswick High School junior ran off the road, overcorrected, crossed the centerline and flipped his SUV.

North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers said he was not wearing his seat belt.

“Ryan (always) had his seat belt on, but took it off to reach for something or he was distracted,” Renee said.

“We need to teach young people the importance of wearing their seat belt.”

To do so, Ryan’s family—his father, Holden Beach Sgt. Frank Dilworth, mother Renee, and sisters Megan Dilworth and Ashley Crocker—have organized an annual motorcycle ride for seat-belt awareness and fundraising.

“We’re celebrating Ryan’s life, but this is also about getting the word out,” Renee said.

The Dilworths used funds from the first motorcycle run to provide a Good Citizenship award and $100 gift card to West Brunswick High School senior John Shipman.

The second ride raised money for the Vehicle Injury Prevention for a Very Important Person program.

VIP for a VIP began in the High Point Fire Department in 1998.

The group, made up of law enforcement and emergency services personnel, visits high schools with local law enforcement and emergency workers and parents to share experiences of accidents involving students and present accident statistics and photographs.

Then they simulate a fatal car crash and go through the steps law enforcement and emergency services take when responding to a wreck.

Their mission is to dramatically bring the sights and sounds of a fatal vehicle accident to high school students in hopes of embedding the consequences of the events in the minds of teenage drivers.

“It is an educational program. They present statistics and information on impaired and distracted driving,” Renee said. “If that doesn’t get their attention, nothing will.”

The program has two teams that have visited 160 schools in 36 counties since 1998.

“They try to talk to juniors and seniors (by visiting schools) every three years,” Renee said.

The Dilworths saw the presentation at West Columbus High School in Tabor City.

Renee said it costs quite a bit of money for the VIP program to take its presentations around the state, up to $300,000 to run a team for a year, so they are pledging money from the run to help with the costs.

VIP for a VIP would like to start a third team, possibly based out of Wilmington, so the Dilworths are trying to help the group work toward that goal.

“If they can get a third team based out of Wilmington, we’ll get more involved,” Sgt. Frank Dilworth said.

“It’s not easy to talk about Ryan, but if it helps, we’ll get up in front of students and do it,” Renee said.

For more information visit www.VIPforaVIP.com.

Saturday’s motorcycle ride covered about 80 miles, beginning at Beach House Harley Davidson on U.S. 17 and ending at Main Street Grill & Rotisserie on the Holden Beach Main Street Causeway, the restaurant where Ryan worked.

Twenty-four riders took part in the motorcycle run, with a few drivers following the group in their vehicles.

The family raised funds through registration, T-shirt and food sales and a 50/50 raffle.

Fair Bluff Police Chief Justin Hewett, a former Holden Beach police officer, won the raffle and donated all the proceeds back to the fundraiser.

Frank Dilworth runs concealed carry handgun training classes through his website, www.rcdguns.com, but also sells “Buckle Up for Ryan” T-shirts at the site.

 

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.