LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's not the length of life. It's the depth of life. A family from Kentuckiana not only believes that statement but is working hard to prove what a difference their love one made in this world in such a short time. They will also make sure those good works will continue in his honor. Dylan First's mother Patty, looks around at a room filled with pictures, posters, trophies, and the dreams of a 17-year-old boy.
"A whole lot of memories. They're bitter sweet," she sighs with tears in her eyes.
You can barely see the wall because it is covered with so many of those bitter sweet memories. They are part of the legacy left behind by Dylan First and part of a project his family started in his honor. It is called the "First Fruit Project.'" It reflects the many acts of unselfishness seen throughout the teen's short life. The family hopes to continue all the labors of love Dylan would have accomplished, they believe, if given the chance.
"He just loved to serve people. Loved to serve god. It didn't matter what he did, he found a way to serve," his brother Matthew explained.
For the first time since Dylan's death, Matthew has pulled out the bright neon bike marked with the number 316 on the handle bars. It was the bike Dylan rode the day he died.
"It's tough, I mean to see it. He would normally be riding it. It's tough to look at it." Matthew stuttered softly.
Pastor Ronnie Caswell, motocross enthusiast and the minister of the family's church reinforced what had been said about Dylan with his words, "He was a real servant. He just found joy and fulfillment helping others."
The 17-year-old motocross competitor died in a crash at a track in Georgia on December 30, 2011.
Pastor Caswell remembers the day and the circumstances, "Dylan lost control of the bike and ended up going over the bar and the bike landed on Dylan."
Family and friends refuse to call Dylan's passing tragic because of the importance of the 17 years that preceded his death and that December day. They are celebrating and focusing on the difference he made on this earth while he was here.
Tony First, Dylan's dad and motocross competitor, was in awe of his sons' gifts, "I was always a person that could fix things. I think Dylan could fix people. To know that a person can still minister to you standing there in full motocross gear. They don't have to be standing in front of a pulpit with a tie on to minister to you. That's what Dylan did."
Dylan's family, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Motocross, his friends and anyone willing, have launched a ministry reaching people for Christ. Their first mission will take faith and dirt bike all the way to Central America.
Dylan's brother Matthew stresses, "We also have children's clothing that we'll be leaving at some of the orphanages. We have school supplies. We have toiletries. It's a very poor country."
It is a country that will be much richer because of the big heart of motocross rider 3-16 and the project first fruit mission.
Pastor Caswell looks at Dylan's life and his signature number and this mission in his honor all adds up, "From day 1, you know he wanted his number to be 316 in reference to john 3:16."
Dylan's ashes were scattered at the site of the crash to form his trademark 3:16. There is comfort there for his mother because in life, there was "so" much comfort at the track for her son.
Patty first remembers his description of the track, "He said mom, this is just heaven on earth. That's how he described it."
Now the mission of the "First Fruit Project" is to share Dylan's love of that paradise and his love for making a difference.
"I guess we'll have to do it with Dylan in our hearts and not with us," Dylan's mom tearfully proclaimed for the family and all those who loved him.
"First Fruit Project" is in need of corporate sponsors to donate equipment, sponsor travel as well as cash donations to cover lodging and food for campers. It is also a dream of the project to take good used or refurbished safety equipment for riders in the countries they visit.
They are also looking for volunteers to help set up, serve people, move equipment and minister to people in many ways.
"First Fruit Project" would love to come speak to your church, youth group or business about how you can be involved. For more information, click here.
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