The purpose of the Forever Falcon Foundation Scholarship Fund is to honor the memory of David Ryan Walker II, who lost his life to a drunk driver auto accident, and to provide financial support to deserving students of local area High Schools near Vermilion, Ohio, as well as Bowling Green State University business students. The Scholarship Fund aims to promote drunk driving awareness, educate students on drunk driving laws and penalties, advocate for automotive airbag safety for rear passengers, and support academic achievement among students.
The Walker Family, of Northeast Ohio, is using their son and brother’s legacy to pave the way for others’ success.
Ryan Walker was returning to the Bowling Green State University campus from a Guardians game with three friends on September 4, 2022, when investigators say their car was hit head-on by a drunk driver. Ryan died and his friends were injured. Since the accident, Ryan's family have gracefully directed their loss into helping propel youths to a gleamng future. A future that Ryan unfortunately will never get the chance to fully live out.
“By the age of 20, Ryan lived his dreams and he accomplished his plans and he was looking ahead to a bright and promising future,” said Eddie Santos, his older brother.
On November 24th, 2022, the first DRW Turkey Trot was held and all of the proceeds and donations from this event went directly towards scholarships in Ryan’s honor. Applicants are required to write an essay about the dangers and devastation of drunk driving. The family sends the essays to State Representative Joseph Miller (D-Lorain). He’s sponsoring a bill to increase the penalties for repeat drunk driving offenders, like the suspect involved in Ryan’s case. The family reviewed each essay to determine the winners. Three seniors each received $1,020, with the 20 representing Ryan’s age and high school graduation year.
The family attended the 2023 senior awards ceremony at Firelands High School to present the awards. Three years earlier, Ryan Walker accepted his own awards on the very same stage. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the school in 2020 before attending BGSU for accounting and finance. While a junior in college, he was working as a resource analyst at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, with plans to accept a long-term position after graduation.
The family is hoping for changes to the law but realizes it could be a lengthy and difficult process. They plan to continue advocating for as long as it takes.
“We lost our son. This isn’t for us. Ryan isn’t coming back. But this is for you, for every student that was here, for everyone that drives the road,” said Belinda Walker. “This is a pain I don’t want any parent to feel.”