Press club member Terri Lynn, a well-known public relations specialist, was named Daily Point of Light Award No. 7286 by Points of Light, a nonpartisan, global nonprofit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world. Daily Point of Light Awards honors individuals and groups creating meaningful change to meet community needs, efforts that often lead to long-term solutions and impact social problems.
Terri received this recognition for her ongoing commitment to missing children and predatory abduction. She has passionately devoted 25+ years of tireless volunteer service and “inspiring work as a changemaker” with the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction.
On September 11, 1995, nine-year-old Jimmy Ryce was abducted, raped and murdered at the hands of a sexual predator on his way home from school. After Jimmy was abducted, his parents were inundated with requests from the media for interviews and information. They soon realized that they needed a public relations specialist to handle all the calls and provide the media with accurate information.
Terri was recommended to help the family and immediately volunteered her services. “I didn’t know it then, but this was my destiny. It was the first time in history that a publicist was asked to handle an abduction. There was no handbook to guide me. I instinctively knew what to do,” Terri recalls.
Her husband, press club board member Mark Young, explains, “Points of Light knows that people like Terri hold the key to changing the world. I am extremely proud of her beyond words, and I know that Don and Claudine Ryce are looking down and smiling.” Mark is the co-managing director of the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction.
President George H.W. Bush was the first president in American history to institute a daily presidential recognition program from the White House, conferring 1,020 Daily Point of Light Awards on citizens and organizations making a big difference in other people’s lives and solving community problems. Points of Light continues the recognition each weekday and now has more than 7,000 honorees to date.
“The Daily Point of Light Award recognizes those who saw something they wanted to improve in the world, then through their time, talent and efforts, began making those improvements,” says Meghan Moloney, Chief Operating Officer at Points of Light. “We’re pleased to honor Terri Lynn and the Jimmy Ryce Center for their amazing work.”
With deep emotion, Terri comments, “To be recognized by Points of Light is a true blessing. I proudly accept this honor on behalf of the Jimmy Ryce Center, our dedicated K-9 officers and remarkable bloodhounds who continue to inspire me.”
Terri says she hopes to show others they can make a difference in their communities, too. “Find a way to volunteer. It changes lives in ways you will never even know,” she adds.
Jimmy Ryce’s Legacy
For three months after Jimmy’s abduction, his parents led a massive search to find him. Later that year his killer confessed to the murder and was sentenced to death.
To honor their son, Don and Claudine Ryce founded the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction. Since its inception, the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction has donated more than 700 bloodhounds to law enforcement agencies across the country. All these remarkable dogs have helped to find missing children and adults.
According to Claudine Ryce, “a bloodhound has 60 times the scent power of a German Shepherd and is the only dog that can follow a human trail more than a few hours old. A bloodhound is your best single bet for bringing a child, abducted by a predator, home, alive. We believe that Jimmy would be alive today if a bloodhound had immediately been brought in to search for our son.”
After Jimmy’s death, the Ryces fought for every child and made it their mission that children had the tools to escape from a sexual predator. Nothing pleased them more than learning that a child escaped danger because of outwitting and outsmarting a person who planned to harm them.
Thanks to the Ryce’s relentless efforts, in 1996 President Clinton issued an executive order allowing pictures of missing children be posted on federal buildings. And the next time you see a bulletin board of missing children at Wal-Mart, it’s because of Don and Claudine Ryce.
Today, our press club members Terri Lynn and Mark Young are the managing directors of Jimmy Ryce Center and continue the work started by Jimmy’s parents. They coordinate all requests from law enforcement for bloodhounds, donations, meet with sponsors and arrange media interviews.
“Every time a bloodhound finds a child, it’s as if Jimmy is giving us a hug,” Claudine Ryce once said.
The Jimmy Ryce Center runs strictly on donations. Each bloodhound costs $1,000.
To donate: https://jimmyryce.org/donate/
About Points of Light
Points of Light says it envisions a world in which every individual discovers the power to make a difference, creating healthy communities in vibrant, participatory societies. Through 177 affiliates across 38 countries, and in partnership with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages five million volunteers in 16 million hours of service each year. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization brings the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, visit www.pointsoflight.org
And to read a feature article about Terri published on the Points of Light website, click here: https://www.pointsoflight.org/awards/publicist-helps-donate-hundreds-of-bloodhounds-for-lost-and-missing-children/