Grandfather of SSG Dylan Elchin
Meeting John Dudo and the team from Legacies Alive has opened up a whole new line of friendship for our family. Legacies Alive has provided us the road map and resources to build a memorial for our beloved Dylan. They have also served our needs and provided us with motivation as Ben Linkous rucked 26.2 miles for our Dylan whom he never even knew.
I first met Legacies Alive through John Dudo at the funeral service of my grandson Staff Sergeant Dylan Elchin. I was in a fog of loss, grief, and the shock of Dylan’s death was very raw. At the time, John was just another sincere “I’m sorry for your loss”, but he gave me a business card and said if I needed anything at all to call him. Many people offer heartfelt condolences, but I could tell this guy was genuine.
Several months later, John called and invited our family to a Gold Star Family Legacies Event. Although the family could not attend, he asked if we could meet and talk and if there was anything Legacies Alive could do for the family.
Previous to John’s call, two local municipalities gave approval to allow a memorial to be built to honor Dylan. These memorials were to be more than a granite stone with a name on it, it was to be something that young and old could relate and connect with.
I asked John if Legacies Alive could help by finding someone to set up a PayPal site for donors and an artist to do the design of the memorial. We continued to meet weekly for several months. I shared my ideas with John about a memorial I’d like to build not only for Dylan but for all the service members from our county who have paid the high cost for freedom.
Our conversations and stories and dreams turned into reality when Legacies Alive brought along more resources like Steve Dillon, a graphics arts designer and Jeremy Yerse, a web-page designer to take our stories and turn them into memorials. Plans were now being put into motion.
On February 29, 2020 Fundraising efforts were announced at a bridge dedication service in Beaver County honoring Dylan. Legacies Alive was instrumental in planning and supporting this ceremony. Needless to say the COVID-19 shutdown hampered donations but to date just over $10,000.00 has been raised.
On April 25, 2020 Legacies Alive participated virtually in the Mountain Man Memorial March honoring Dylan. Ben Linkous, a Legacies Alive Team Member honored our family by running a 26.2 mile ruck in honor of Dylan at Fort Benning, GA. Locally in Beaver County, family members and Legacies Alive team members participated in a 8 mile walk to honor Dylan. Our family was really touched when we received Facetime calls from Ben as he rucked all day long for our beloved Dylan, a man whom Ben had never even met.
Our family felt the connection to Legacies Alive when our conversations turned into a real friendship. Our family has met new friends through Legacies Alive and we look forward to meeting more of these wonderful people and families in the future.