SEAFORD – It initially started about a month or so ago with discussion about a wheelchair ramp.

The finished product unveiled Saturday at the Lyons family residence east of Seaford blew that initial idea to smithereens.

Volunteers and a caring community determined to bring joy to 4-year-old Ryker Lyons and his family literally ramped it up to an amazing level with Ryker’s Ramp-A-Palooza. (Click here for photo gallery).

RAMP ryker with rusty NEW

Ryker Lyons with Rusty Dukes in the little Seaford boy’s very own clubhouse named Ryker’s Garage.

Working in rain and even snow, skilled roofers, electricians, homebuilders and others teamed with a ladies’ interior design crew and landscapers in an overall makeover that provided something special for the family.

“Nothing was going to dampen our spirits,” said Good Ole Boy Foundation member Josh Wharton. “Rain, snow, sleet, it didn’t matter. We were going to do it. We delivered.”

Ryker, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and someday will be confined to a wheelchair, can now play in his very own clubhouse. It’s named “Ryker’s Garage.”

A ramp bridge from a new deck on the back of the home leads to the clubhouse, which has electricity, a television and other amenities. It’s catered to his love of garages and cars.

“We just wanted to bless this young boy. He’s got TV, cable – his own little oasis,” said Jason Tolson of Mid Atlantic Electrical Service of Millsboro.

Rusty Dukes of Dukes Lumber recalls the project evolution.

“I came here about a month ago and I talked to Ryker’s mother Brooke and his father Aaron. I came here just to figure out what kind of materials were needed to build a ramp and what it would cost,” said Mr. Dukes. “When I met with them, she said that she didn’t want just a ramp that looked like a handicapped ramp.”

Mr. Dukes offered the idea of a deck.

“She liked that idea. And then Josh (Wharton) and I got talking and Josh said, ‘Let’s build him a playhouse, a clubhouse,” Mr. Dukes said. “And it just blew up from there and expanded.”

RAMP girls room pimp 1

New room paint schemes and other amenities for Ryker Lyons’ two sisters were part of Ryker’s Ramp-A-Palooza.

The makeover includes a new grill for backyard barbecues, landscaping and new room paint schemes and amenities for Ryker’s older sisters, Kierstin and Camber.

Ryker can also wheel about in a super cool blue Power Wheels F-150, donated by Boulevard Ford in Georgetown.

And his clubhouse access features a real motorized garage door with remote control.

“We are just honored to be able to help the community and give back what we can,” said Jay Yoder of J & A Overhead Door of Delmar, De. “It’s a good cause and we are glad to help.”

The finished project was unveiled to the Lyons family upon their return from a one-night getaway at Francis Scott Key water park in Ocean City, Md.

“We don’t know how to say ‘thank you.’ But that’s all we can do is say ‘thank you,’” said Mr. Lyons. “It’s very much appreciated.”

Ms. Lyons, in a Facebook posting Saturday, offered these grateful words: “To say thank you would be the world’s greatest understatement. To tag everyone individually would be impossible. To know that we are not alone in this fight is beyond reassuring.”

RAMP the beginning ......

Ryker’s Ramp-A-Palooza: The beginning.

About two years ago, Ms. Lyons walked in the rain from her Seaford home to Legislative Hall in Dover. She did it for her son in efforts to raise funding and awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The average life expectancy for individuals afflicted with Duchenne MD is around 25.

“We just want this family to know that even though this young man may have five to 10 to 15 years left, they are not in the fight by themselves. We just want to be a blessing and let them know that we are here,” said Mr. Dukes.

“There has just been a ton of community support here. This is Sussex County. This is what we are about. This is what we do, rally together to support each other,” said Mr. Dukes. “You call on guys and say, ‘Hey, there is a need. We need your help.’ The guys come out and work in the rain. We wouldn’t work this hard if we were getting paid. It is amazing to see all of these ladies and these men come together to bless this family.”

Katy Davis Wharton, part of the women’s makeover crew, shared this on Facebook: “Over the past few months, I have watched a simple request for a wheelchair ramp unfold into an ‘all-out ramp-a-palooza/pimp my room: Sussex County edition.’ And in true Sussex County fashion, we killed it! I have seen a brainstorm turn into a reality, better than even I could imagine. For such a well deserving family, too.”

RAMP it's done 4 guys

Ryker’s Ramp-A-Palooza: The End!

Good Ole Boy Foundation member K.C. Conaway addressed the Lyons family prior to the revealing.

“We’re here behind you guys. You guys have got a lot of community support here,” he said.  “We know it’s a fight but we are ready to get in the fight right with you guys.”

Visit Ryker’s Fight on Facebook.

Business and organization participants in the mega-makeover include: Dukes Lumber, Phil Thompson Construction, Penuel Signs, Mid-Atlantic Electrical Services, J & A Overhead Door, Solid Image, Peninsula Construction, Customized Lawn Care, Baker’s Hardware in Millsboro, the Chad Spicer Foundation and Home Team Realty.

NOTE: A list of additional businesses and other contributors will be included upon receipt and will be added to this article.





RAMP power wheels

Josh Wharton (Good Ole Boy Foundation) and Rose Thibault (Boulevard Ford Georgetown) carry Boulevard’s donation to Ryker Lyons and the Ryker’s Ramp-A-Palooza project: a Power Wheels F-150.

Sussex County Post Article - April 10, 2016

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

Continue Reading >> about IN THE NEWS – RYKER’S RAMP – APRIL 2016

In the News – Sussex County Post Article – March 2016

DAGSBORO – Mouth-watering Hocker’s BBQ pulled pork and shrimp tantalized taste buds.

Community unity and support for organizations that serve the community warmed hearts.

So did a couple precious little pooches.

Upward of 900 packed Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department’s Station 73 Saturday night for the reloaded edition of Pull’n, Peel’n & Pick’n – a mega-fundraiser benefitting the fire department and the Good Ole Boy Foundation.

Silent and live auctions and entertainment provided by the Bo Dickerson Band augmented the second annual fundraiser.

 ‘It was a very successful event for both organizations,” said Bryan Townsend, event fundraising chairman for DVFD. “The money that we raise will go to benefit us, the Good Ole Boy Foundation and help out in our community which we serve.”

“It was an extremely huge success,” said Good Ole Boy Foundation co-founder Josh Wharton. “From the people who were here and bought tickets to the people who donated, everybody gave and we are extremely grateful.”

As anticipated, two cuddly 8-week-old puppies – Ranger, a male black lab, and a female chocolate lab named Liberty – drew plenty of attention and affection. Both pups were homeward bound for their new forever homes after fetching more than $1,000 apiece in live auction bidding orchestrated by volunteer auctioneer Robert Kauffman.

The event doubled as a venue for spontaneous support for 17-year-old Trevor Kramer, who is battling brain cancer.

Monetary donations boosted by a generous $1,450 giveback by the first 50/50 winner, Patty Smith, approached $2,000. The live auction for a yeti cooler added another sizeable sum to the tally earmarked for Trevor and his family.

“That will go to the family to help with medical bills and everything,” said Mr. Townsend.

Several auction items surpassed the $1,000 mark.

That grand list included a Cornhole set made in tribute of the late Kirk Rogers, who passed away last November. He was a 1992 Sussex Central High School graduate and a patriotic Good Ole Boy Foundation member.

“We all know how much Kirk Rogers loved to help,” said Mr. Wharton. “This was his event. Last year that man went in with both feet as hard as he could go because he loved giving back to the people. We can’t see Kirk here tonight but I know he is here with us.”

Good Ole Boy Foundation member K.C. Conaway offered a prayer in remembrance of the late Mr. Rogers.

The Cornhole set was made by Sussex Central High School students. It was branded “Ranger” with a hashtag: #livelikekirk.

“Kirk was a huge part of our organization, the Good Ole Boy Foundation,” said Mr. Wharton. “He had a special place in his heart for veterans. He really liked to do veteran outreach. He was an Army Ranger. So he is the one that left us with a soft spot for veterans. And we do that in his honor. We help veterans when we can.”

The Ranger Cornhole set went for $1,300. All of that money is going to Kirk’s wife for their kids and their college fund, Mr. Wharton said.

Organizers were overwhelmed by the community support.

“It’s a grass-roots effort and without the people we could not make this happen. We are here to serve the public,” said Mr. Townsend.

“A big thank you to our supporters,” Mr. Wharton said. “We can’t help anyone without our loyal supporters.”

“Big thanks to the Bo Dickerson Band. They did a great job,” Mr. Wharton added. “From our side of the table, a huge thanks to the Dagsboro Fire Department for allowing us to team up on this event.”

Mr. Wharton gave a special shout out to Greg Hocker and Hocker’s.

“They are the unsung heroes. They really go above and beyond for us so we can help the community,” said Mr. Wharton.

Mar 6th, 2016 · by  Sussex County Post - March 6, 2016

Continue Reading >> about In the News – Sussex County Post Article – March 2016


Good Ole Boy Foundation

Community network, connections lead to good deeds

By Glenn Rolfe Sussex County Post

SUSSEX COUNTY — With Christmas approaching, Good Ole Boy Foundation members have been as busy as little elves, delivering holiday cheer to needy children and families.

As of Dec. 16, the count was 100 families.

“Every day we get more families,” said Josh Wharton, a founding member of the grassroots organization. “I’m guessing it will be probably close to double that at the time it is all said and done.”

This past Sunday, Santa Claus made a special delivery - courtesy of Good Ole Boy Foundation connections.

“We had a lady come to us - she tagged me on Facebook - that there is a girl that is 23 years old. She is deaf. She has never been able to sign language to Santa Claus. She has always seen Santa and she loves the holidays,” Mr. Wharton said. “Just by making a couple calls and putting some things out there we are going to make this happen. So for the first time - she is 23 years old - she is going to be able to “sign” her wish list to Santa Claus.”

“We found one in New Jersey - a Santa that does sign language,” said Gumboro resident Shane Payne, another GOBF member. “It was somebody that saw a posting on Facebook … and BAM!, it all became a reality.”

Since its inception three years ago, the Good Ole Boy Foundation has helped countless families and individuals, with the help of a caring community and a vast network of supporters with connections.

The Good Ole Boy Foundation Facebook site has more than 5,600 “Likes.” Social media, cell phones and word of mouth are what make things tick.

None of the handful of founding members are millionaires. Neither are any of the several dozen individuals in the foundation’s active network. The GOBF holds two major annual fundraisers - the Sweethearts Ball and the Pull’n, Peel’n and Pick’n - but for the most part community response facilitates good deeds.

“Our core - we have five board members - that is really not the brains and the heart behind our foundation. There are all of our wives and we’ve got some friends; we’ve probably got a network of 25 of us that keeps this foundation going,” said Mr. Wharton, a Delaware Electric Cooperative employee who also farms. “It is made up of blue collar individuals that go to work every day and work hard. They work hard for their money. They are Sussex County folks and they love helping people. If we were all on our own we couldn’t cover the amount that we do when we are together. Meaning, if we all give a little we can help a lot. And a lot of the times there are things that we can do for people that don’t cost a dime.”

“Basically our mission is we come along side of families that come against unexpected hardships - whether it be medical issues, house fires or whether it be Christmas time, just trying to assist families at Christmas,” said GOBF member K.C. Conaway, a DNREC Fish & Wildlife mosquito control employee from Laurel. “And really, our main priority is to preserve the spirit of a child. We look at the best interest of the child. That has kind of been our No. 1 goal: Are there kids involved?”

Seeds for the GOBF were planted in late fall of 2012.

“There was a little girl from Seaford and she had a medical issue. We wanted just to rally some people together to provide her a Christmas. That’s how it started,” said Mr. Wharton. “When we came home from the hospital the night before Thanksgiving in 2012 with our youngest son, when we got home we found out about this little girl and we set up a Facebook page. I told my wife, ‘Let’s try this,’ and from there it grew. It was one family, and then two families. Before we knew it we did 25 families our first year. That was all in like six weeks or whatever.”

“That is what I think is so awesome about the organization, because it wasn’t founded by usually successful businessmen or people in political office or a large corporation,” said GOBF member Anne Donaway of Millsboro. “The guys that founded it were just hard-working, everyday guys. They recognize the need of others, knowing that it could be any one of them that would be in that spot and need that helping hand. I’ve always done small parts. All of us do. You do your own small little part, and then it ends up being this huge thing. We put all of our thoughts together and visions together and it becomes this chain reaction.”

In many instances, the GOBF is the switchboard dispatcher for community unity.

“The Good Ole Boys, they simply bring the public to see a story and that creates an impact. It empowers the community to help,” said Ms. Donaway. “That is what’s so cool and so special about the Good Ole Boy Foundation. They just bring the story to light.”

“In our community, we have founded a powerful tool and there are great people in the surrounding area that are willing to help,” said Mr. Conaway. “They just need to know the need brought to their attention. We’ve had people - grandmothers raising kids where the washing machine goes - and this one particular grandmother was battling cancer and raising three small children. Within a matter of 15 minutes I believe we had about five to 10 washing machines donated the organization.”

“It allows people to do incredible things. We keep the people anonymous,” added Mr. Conaway. “It never fails. It amazes how quick they are to react. That is the beautiful thing about the Good Ole Boy Foundation.”

“They (community members) trust us by their donations and we try to make them proud by finding deserving families,” said Mr. Wharton.

Area businesses have pitched in to help in collecting Christmas gifts.

“The local businesses who love the fact that we are giving back, without a blink of the eye will completely donate, and say ‘Here you go. Do as you wish. I know it is going to be given locally and to a good cause,’” said Ms. Donaway. “There are so many businesses I don’t even think I could name how many help and how many individuals help. There are hundreds. They come to rescue quite quickly.”

“And of the 25 people that are involved in the heart of our foundation, not one person receives any compensation for anything. One hundred percent of our money goes back into the community,” said Mr. Wharton.

Some good deeds seem simple, like buying lunch for a military veteran, purchasing coffee or hot chocolate for total strangers or delivering chocolates to nurses.

On occasion, the GOBF can help make dreams come true.

This past August, Liam Myrick, a terminally- ill 5-year-old boy from Missouri, had not one, not two but all three of his wishes come true.

“He wanted to drive a tractor, pet a shark and go to the beach. We made it all happen,” said Mr. Payne.

Little Liam was all smiles as he sat at the wheel of a huge John Deere, part of large processor of farm equipment at a farm near Gumboro witnessed by hundreds of supporters.

“There was probably 60 or 70 pieces of equipment out there that day, everything from a little lawn mower to big tractors,” Mr. Payne said.

Foundation members are quick to point out it is a concerted, community effort.

“We can’t fix everything, but what we can do is rally the community up, and come up with these drop-off locations and get all the essentials that these people need in a short amount of time. We do it through Facebook, phone calls and stuff like that,” said Mr. Wharton.

Response to a fire that destroyed a Millsboro family’s home is a shining example.

“Twenty-four hours after their house burned down we had hundreds of people coming out to give their donations and stuff they had - and it wasn’t really monetary,” said Mr. Wharton. “They needed essentials around the house. They needed clothing, they needed this and that; little things that you just don’t think about. And within 24 hours the Bare family was back on their feet ready to go. Of course their house was a total loss but all of their essentials were covered. Examples like that, it doesn’t cost anything. It is just rallying the community.”

Sussex County, founders say, is why the foundation succeeds.

“It just goes to show the heart of Sussex County, that people right here where we live love helping other people - and we’re the engine that does that,” said Mr. Wharton.

“It didn’t shock me at all because we live in the greatest community in the United States as far as I am concerned,” Mr. Payne said. “Sussex County is without a doubt the greatest community.”

Major 2016 fundraisers

The GOBF’s Sweethearts Ball is held around Valentine’s Day, “We partner up with Baywood. They give us a great deal, a great price. The girls go out and get their hair all done up. It gives us a night, just us adults, that we can get all dolled-up and go hang out for a great cause.”

Pull’n, Peel’n and Pick’n, a mega- fundraiser that benefited both the Good Ole Boy Foundation and Dagsboro, was held this past March with plans for a second event in 2016.

Passing the torch

Organizers hope to someday pass the torch.

“I know that this sounds crazy and you always have to dream big, but if we are going to change the world we have got to start with the young people of America. And that’s right here at home with our own kids,” said Mr. Wharton. “Like tonight, we are going out shopping tonight for a second time and we’re taking our kids. We want them to know that Christmas is not all about receiving, but it’s more about helping other people in need. We want them to get involved to make this hopefully last for years and years to come, because at some point we are going to have to stop; 50 years from now we are not going to be in shape for this.”

“Now we are incorporating our children,” said Ms. Donaway.

“One thing the Good Ole Boy Foundation has given us is tools to be able to impact our kids - to leave a legacy for our kids,” said Mr. Conaway. “We are gradually involving more and more kids, now that we are kind of getting our feet on the ground we try to involve kids with many of the opportunities that rise up within the community. We want to pass it down, and eventually have the younger generation take over the Good Ole Boy Foundation.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at


Katy Wharton hands a box of chocolates to a nurse in a random act of kindness from the Good Ole Boy Foundation

Special to the Sussex County Post


The younger generation is the future of the Good Ole Boy Foundation. Pictured, Kamryn Payne, Nick Wharton, Ryan Beard, Caden Showard, Alexa Ellis, Mya Donaway, Addison Weaver, Dax Donaway and Kyler Weaver.

Special to the Sussex County Post


As Christmas nears, the Good Ole Boy Foundation has been out on several shopping sprees, purchasing gifts for needy children and families.

Special to the Sussex County Post

Continue Reading >> about IN THE NEWS – SUSSEX COUNTY POST ARTICLE – DEC 2015


For over a decade, WBOC's Bless Our Children campaign has made Christmas happen for many less fortunate children in our area. Over the years, many of us can remember watching WBOC as they filled their Christmas tree up on-air with cards and donations from the community. Many of you may have often wondered where those proceeds end up. Well, the money raised from this campaign is distributed to local charitable groups across the peninsula that assist families during Christmas.

Last year, the Good Ole Boy Foundation was honored when WBOC selected them as one of the recipients to receive funds from this campaign. These funds allowed the GOBF to assist many more families across our community for Christmas.

This past week on Thanksgiving day, WBOC did a special feature on their 2014 Bless Our Children campaign. We were blessed to be a part of this program as they did a fantastic job highlighting the GOBF.