Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Difference A Life Can Make: Ryan Woods

The desire for significance is part of being human. Last November Ryan Woods passed away from a spinal
cancer--glioblastoma. Ryan's journey into the future touched a lot people, so much so, that the Vancouver, Washington city council has dedicated October 26 as Make a Difference Day on which they will name the first recipient of the Ryan Woods Grassroots Community Award.

Here is a portion of reflection Ryan's father and church planter of the Renovatus Church of Christ wrote about this event:

One of the blessings during Ryan's illness was that amazing moments when friends and family would rally around the needs of the family:  house cleaning, fund raisers, meals, etc.  It was humbling and certainly a blessing.  It has left a "forever" mark on us.  And it has been a testimony to the serving nature of Ryan & Jessica's ministry to the downtown Vancouver neighborhoods.  What a blessing.

Something new is about to happen that actually marks a surprisingly new aspect of Ry's ministry.  This one doesn't come from friends or family or from anyone who ever even met Ryan.  A woman named Elizabeth Holmes publishes an on-line magazine called Broadsheet 360.  Her and her partner, Kate, heard about Ryan's story and asked him to write an article for their magazine, which he did in the spring of last year.  Elizabeth began to follow Ryan's blog and even posted the SoulPancake video, "My Last Days" that featured Ry & Jessica.  Elizabeth's husband is Eric Holmes, city manager for Vancouver, and the two of them came up with an idea that they took to Vancouver's mayor, Tim Leavitt.  

The city already honors city employees with a yearly award who are invested in the greater community, but that's for employees.  Their idea -- and the mayor loved the idea -- was to honor a person every year who blesses the community.   After many conversations about Ryan...his passion...his love for the community...his desire to make it a better place, Eric and Beth sought to create an award to honor others like Ryan: people who give of themselves each day, in small but incredibly meaningful ways; who encourage a stronger community.

And so, it's happening!  Are you ready for this?  The Ryan Woods Grassroots Community Award will be awarded on Saturday, October 26th.  Rybee's legacy will continue on through people who never knew our son, but were impacted just the same, and will continue into the future.  Each year people will be recommended for this award … but on this inaugural year, it will be given to Jessica and Ryan Woods.  In keeping with what my son would have planned himself, it's going to be a grand work party where folks will show up in work clothes armed with tools, and we'll be working on several projects down town!  Amazing!

Father, Ryan loved and served you well. May you used his legacy of faith for a deep impact upon the community of Vancouver, Washington. Amen

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