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Power of DK3 Volunteers & The Ryan Nation

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

Our recent blog on Venice Beach and the Inaugural DK3 Veterans Championship was a recount of the weekend of October 12-13th. We wanted to thank our Veterans, the most important part of our event, while also trying to capture the basketball story of an ‘EPIC’ weekend. In this blog I want to explain the reason why and how it became the epic weekend that it was. Short answer is power of Volunteers!

When I met Kevin Ryan nearly a year before DK3 Venice Beach, I was enamored with the play of his daughter, Courtney Ryan at the NWBA Women’s National Championship in Carson, CA. Kevin and I shared wall space in the gym and both watched his daughter in awe. Courtney, since then made the USA Paralympic Team and Kevin and I became near best friends. Kevin has proven himself to be a ‘Super Fan’ of wheelchair basketball.

Kevin Ryan and Patti Ryan with their daughter Courtney Ryan and Molly Bloom at the 2019 Lima Parapan Games

I shared my vision of an all Veterans event with Kevin in Carson that weekend and we discussed how that vision would unfold. A Veteran himself who was a Chief Petty Officer in US Navy, Kevin was immediately attached to the idea. Little did I know he would spin it and run with it from that day for a solid year. Not half way in, but All IN!!!

We had countless phone calls going over millions of details for an entire year leading up to the Venice Beach weekend. There were so many ways Kevin and his family helped me/ DK3 and supported each and every one of the 56 veterans in Venice Beach and I couldn't be more thankful. Below, I would like to share some of the countless things Kevin and his family did to make our event one of the best.

Saturday afternoon's delicious meal was all thanks to Kevin Ryan. He recruited his friends, the ‘Pickled Pellet Heads’ from Bakersfield, CA, to prepare a fantastic BBQ dinner on the beach for our 90+ people. They paid and donated all the food for our Veterans. Kev literally saved my event from a huge budget item! 10 Volunteers came with the Pellet Heads and they served all veterans and their families with a big smile and pride in what they were doing!!

Thank you for the wonderful meal, Pickled Pellet Heads!

I hear from a lot of people that this event was A LOT OF FUN. Kevin and his family played a huge role in that. How? Daughters Courtney and Molly secured their friend, talented DJ Kelci Newlin for 2 solid days and donated all the audio equipment. Kevin's niece, a recording artist, Phoebe Ryan, joined us for national anthem and sang some of her hit songs during BBQ on Saturday afternoon.

Our AMAZING DJ, Kelci Newlin, who provided the music all weekend photo credit: Dian Self

Singer, song-writer, Phoebe Ryan singing the National Anthem photo credit: Dian Self

The flag ceremony on Saturday morning was also a product of the Ryan family. Kevin's son, Chris Ryan, a National Guard himself, led the ceremony in full uniform. Kevin acquired flags for different divisions of military during the opening ceremonies.

Flag Ceremony photo credit: Dian Self

All Ryan’s with other key volunteers unloaded and loaded the truck 6:30am (before the crack of dawn) and set up the courts BOTH DAYS. A major pain!!! Kevin and Chris drove the 26 ft. rental truck like pros. The Ryans also initiated an online raffle selling multiple tickets raising money for DK3, donated tournament score cards, and helped set up and load trucks both days. Brothers Terry and Denis Ryan both flew in from the East Coast on their own dime just to show their support. Patti Ryan, Kevin's wife filled in all the gaps.

This list could go on and on... Kevin and his army of family gave to you with no strings attached. Just form their heart. Thank you my friends for Life!

Kileys and Ryans in Venice Beach together strong

I could not complete this blog without thanking the rest of the 'DK3 volunteer machine' in Venice Beach who flew out from all across the country or drove from other states just to support DK3: My family, including my wife Sandy with registration and apparel sale, and my brother, Tom who gave 3 solid days.

So many of my friends, including my high school friends from Mater Dei came from all around the country just to VOLUNTEER.

Thank you, Liz Fitzgerald, Pat Manger, Hall of Famer Frank Burns, Paul Santangelo, Joe Kapsch, Dave O'Neil, Cheryl Vines (She had an unfortunate accident and had to leave early. We wish you a fast recovery, Cheryl!), Bob Leyes, Tournament Director Doug Garner, Melanie Rose Brionez and Randy Troy Jaramillo, Terry Ryan (another Ryan Nation member), Trevon Jenifer, Zach Falk, Nance Powers, Becky Garner, Hall of Famer Candace Cable, Angel City Sports' Camille Mahlknecht and Bes Grode and various other volunteers from LA area who gave their ALL to help us run our event as smoothly as possible. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

Morning Registration was handled by Nance Powers and my wife, Sandy photo credit: Dian Self

The power of my relationships that God brought to the table is amazing and humbling to me. There is no success without these ‘Warriors’ who did all the heavy lifting for DK3 Venice Beach Veterans Championship on October 12-13th.

Family and friends… You get my final and most important shout out for your generous hearts. Vets, I hope you hear and feel this shout out wherever you are right now.

Thank you for reading.

Peace through Christ and Hoops,


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