DR. FRANK RYAN, R.I.P.
Usually, if I’m writing a tribute to someone, I know them really well. That wasn’t the case with Dr. Frank Ryan, who lost his life when his jeep went over the side of the PCH in Malibu two days ago, but just meeting him a time or two made enough of an impression that I was shocked and sad all day yesterday, after learning the awful news.
I had just attended his 50th birthday party in May, at his beloved Pony Bony Ranch, and observed, up-close and personal, the love that all his guests had for him. He spent hours just greeting everyone and taking pictures with all who wanted one. He seemed to be a very vibrant, upbeat man.
And a kind one, as well, which is where the real tragedy of his death comes in. His Dr. Frank Ryan Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps underprivileged and at-risk youth, and I’ve seen it at work on his ranch. He invited some of the teens who have been helped by the foundation to dance at his birthday party, wowing the assemblage. And that’s just a tiny bit of what his foundation has accomplished over the years. [To read more about it, please visit www.drfrankryan.org or www.bonyponyranch.com.]
Even his death proved to be one last, catastrophic lesson to kids, and adults, all over the country who may have read about it. I don’t know if we’ll ever know the exact details of his last minutes, but it’s been reported by California Highway Patrol that he was texting while driving.
As I beg all my friends, please stop texting, and looking down at your phone in any way, when you’re driving!!! It’s gotten even worse since it’s become illegal because now people try to hide what they’re doing from any cops who may be around, so they hold their phones even lower. If someone so bright as Dr. Ryan can be distracted by texting, what chance do others have? I hope that everyone learns from this heartbreaking loss, and if his final lesson saves even one life, it will become as important a legacy as Dr. Ryan’s charitable foundation is.