He was only 25 years old when he died. Ryan Paul Whitaker had originally specialized in automotive technology. In 2007, he decided to go back to school to become a nurse. “I want to help people,” Ryan explained.
Less than two weeks later, Ryan suffered an injury that left him with bulging disks in his vertebrae. It was medical complications from this injury that ended the young man’s promising life.
Paula Whitaker, Ryan’s mother, was heartbroken.
“I miss him every day,” Paula Whitaker says. “It felt like looking across the Grand Canyon with all your dreams for your grandchildren on the other side; Ryan was the bridge.”
Ryan’s words, “I want to help people,” has now given Paula a mission. She is putting her grief to work and helping people as a way to honor her son’s last wishes.
Since Ryan dreamed of being a nurse, Paula has thrown her support behind organizations such as TOMAGWA Health Care Ministries, Lone Star College Nursing Scholarships, Tomball Pregnancy Center, and the Shattered Lives Program. These are just a few of the ways Paula is memorializing her son, and sharing the love of Christ in his honor.
On Sunday, April 9, 6:30 PM, Paula will host a dedication and lighting ceremony at one of her biggest projects yet. It’s a 125 foot cross at the intersection of the Grand Parkway and 249, and the ceremony will take place at River of Praise Church.
The construction of the cross was primarily funded by the Ryan Paul Whitaker Memorial Foundation, and it cost roughly $250,000-300,000. It features a quartz and limestone base with benches for reading, meditation, and prayer. In front stands a water baptistery and lights to illuminate the cross at night.
“This is the cross of Tomball. It belongs to the people,” Paula said. “This is going to be such a blessing to so many people.”
Tomball Cross Dedication Ceremony
Sunday, April 9, 6:30 PM
H/T Community Impact and Houston Chronicle