By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Faith will take him far

Marcus Larson/News-Register##Dayton graduate Dylan Blanchard poses for a portrait in front of two commemorative plaques listing the names of missionaries from his church. His name soon will join the list.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##Dayton graduate Dylan Blanchard poses for a portrait in front of two commemorative plaques listing the names of missionaries from his church. His name soon will join the list.
Submitted photo##Dylan Blanchard hands records to Scott Pingel, the Dayton city manager. Dylan organized a citywide cleanup as his Eagle Scout project.
Submitted photo##Dylan Blanchard hands records to Scott Pingel, the Dayton city manager. Dylan organized a citywide cleanup as his Eagle Scout project.

DAYTON — Dylan Blanchard is ready to go wherever God takes him.

Dylan graduated June 11 from Dayton High School, where he served as vice president of the Class of 2016.

He wants to become a lawyer, like the ones he observed during an internship he served with the Yamhill County District Attorney’s Office earlier this year. He’s been accepted to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he plans to start on that quest by earning a degree in political science.

First, though, he will be traveling somewhere else to do something else. He will be completing a two-year mission for his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at a destination yet to be determined.

To Mormons, mission is an important step. It’s a way for them to serve others while inviting them to come to Christ, Dylan said.

At press time, he still didn’t know where he’d serve his mission, or even when it might start. It could be in August. And it could be in another state, another country or even another hemisphere. 

“I don’t really have a preference,” he said. He’d be happy with any assignment, he said, because “where we go comes from the Lord.”

Dylan’s parents, Daniel and Mary Lou Blanchard, know they will find it difficult to say goodbye to their youngest son. But they are proud of him — both for choosing to accept a mission and for being such a great young man.

“He’s such a joy,” said his mom, who assembled a collage of his school photos, kindergarten through grade 12, for Dylan’s graduation. “Everything he does, he does with excitement and commitment, and there’s always a good outcome.”

Another thing pleases his mother: “He’s always where he’s supposed to be.”

His dad said he’s never seen Dylan angry. He always displays an attitude of love, care and respect.

Most importantly, his dad said, “He honors his mother and father.”

Dylan grew up in Dayton, attending the grade school and junior high before entering Dayton High. In high school, he played football and ran track.

In National Honor Society, he participated in community service projects, such as helping with the Reach the Beach water station and American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

He also was active in FFA, doing community service and competing in activities such as parliamentary procedure, food science, nursery/landscape and agronomy. He showed Suffolk/Hampshire cross lambs for several years, too.

FFA adviser Mitch Coleman and leadership adviser Dave Fluke were positive influences for him, he said.

Dylan has worked in addition to studying in recent years. He’s a courtesy clerk at Albertsons grocery store in McMinnville. He also helps his dad keep their rental houses in tiptop shape.

Outside of school, he’s been active in Boy Scouts.

For his Eagle Scout project, he organized a citywide clean-up. An Eagle Scout, he said, is “someone who is always looking to do good for someone else.”

He’s also done performed service with his church youth group and helped with Dayton’s community festivals.

The next two years will be about service, for community and church. After that, Dylan will be back home briefly before heading off to college.

While he acknowledges that his plans may change — especially because of what he learns during his mission — he said he’s looking forward to majoring in political science when he attends BYU. He’s always been interested in politics, he said.

“I grew up watching the John Kerry-George Bush debate,” the 18-year-old said, thinking back to 2004.

But the major is more of a stepping stone to law school than a direct career interest, he said. His internship in the DA’s office fascinated him. If he became a prosecutor, he realized, he could help people. He also has considered the bench.

His mother said she wouldn’t be surprised to see her son in judicial robes. “He’s very determined,” she said.

Dylan said he’s always been driven, and he’s had great role models along the way. His parents have set a good example, as has his older brother, 2006 Dayton High graduate Jordan Blanchard, now a teacher in Utah.

They’ve not only encouraged him to aim high, but also to be a good person, he said. 

“I want to be a nice guy,” he said. “I want to be kind to others. I want to be honest, kind, respectful.”

Even if kindness and respect are not returned, he said, it’s important for him to know that he, at least, did the right thing.

And that attitude, of course, comes back to the foundation of his life, his faith.

Comments

DanHinmon

Thank you, Starla, for this great story about an inspiring young man. Dylan represents the best of our youth at a time when there are so many stories about kids who have lost their way. He's an example for all of us!

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS