Ryan was born and raised in Clayton, North Carolina. He grew up in the same church (Horne Memorial Methodist) attended by Helen Little.
Miss Helen taught Ryan in her Sunday school class for several years. She found him to have a ready smile. He was faithful in his attendance and involved in many church activities. Miss Helen thought of him becoming a missionary some day.
During his senior year, Ryan participated in a mission trip with the youth group of his church. The group served in the poorer areas of Washington D.C. He was very impressed with the harsh conditions he saw. During this trip, Ryan accepted Christ as his Savior.
Ryan loved the water and was an excellent surfer. He had a job as a life guard at a community pool. Tragically, he was killed in a car accident on the way home from work. He was 18 years old.
Hearts were very heavy in the community, especially at Horne Memorial. At that time, Horne Memorial was assisting a new orphanage in Haiti. The church’s mission committee discussed naming the new orphanage after Ryan. Everyone agreed. To name this refuge for such a promising young man, taken from life at such an early age, was indeed a fitting legacy.
Helen Little's Story
Miss Helen, as she is lovingly called, was born and raised in Clayton, North Carolina. After high school, she married and had three children. When she was 32 and the children were older, she was trained in data processing, and worked at North Carolina State University for the next 27 years.
Shortly after her dear husband passed on some twenty years ago, she heard a presentation at her church about the abysmal conditions in Haiti and decided to help. During that first trip, she was appalled by the depth of the poverty… children walking around naked or with few clothes, very few shoes, and dirty, trash filled surroundings.
She was moved to take action. Since that time, she has helped build seven schools, four wells for clean water, one large church, and an orphanage in Haiti. She has had an impact on many, many people in Haiti and here in the U.S.
She spends her time back home raising funds and scrounging through garage sales, and talking to church and business groups about her work. This fireball of a woman has been involved with Habitat for Humanity, The Heifer Project, and other charitable organizations. Her efforts with the local women’s prison are particularly rewarding for her.
In addition to all this, she has participated in mission trips to Cuba, Russia, Sri Lanka, Equador, Jamaica, and Armenia.
But it is Haiti to where she always returns. She loves the Haitian people, and they love her in return. Over the years, she has definitely seen an improvement in conditions, with cleaner streets, nicer clothes, and more shoes and education for the young.
At 81, she has made over 50 trips to Haiti alone. She is truly an inspiration to all she meets, and especially all she serves.