At CRF we’re grateful for every single one of our donors. And we love it when you all get the credit you deserve for the great work you make possible!

We’ve had the pleasure of knowing Dyron for a long time and have been honored to partner with him in our work in Kenya. His former employer, Eli Lilly and Company, wrote about Dyron’s experiences with our Kenya programs in their recent publication, and we wanted to share it with you. Thanks for using your gifts, Dyron!

Thank you to all of our amazing supporters who also use your gifts to help others every day. We wish we could share all of your stories, but we hope you are inspired by Dyron’s story today!

Dyron Howell retired three years ago after 26 years in sales at Eli Lilly and Company, and what he is good at is building relationships. “You can probably tell that I’ve never met a stranger,” he laughs. He has used that skill to not only grow his non-profit from feeding 10 children from his kitchen in Amarillo to impacting 25,000 children across Texas, but also to bring water and education to friends he has made in Kenya.

Howell first travelled to Kenya as part of the Lilly Connecting Hearts Abroad program in 2016. Howell is a pharmacist, and his skills fit the oncology focus of the program that matches selected Lilly employees with two-week volunteer projects.

Through several twists of fate, prior to his trip Howell connected with a gentleman from Eldoret named Francis who invited him to travel to Kenya a week ahead of the main Lilly group to get to know the culture and the people and to learn more about the work he was doing with CRF (Christian Relief Fund). 

Through his excursions with Francis, what really stood out to Howell was water. “Water is life. If you don’t have water, you’re in trouble for your crops, for your personal health, for your animals,” he said. 

In one community in the Rift Valley, Howell and Francis visited a community with no reliable source of water. “It’s 95 degrees and we’re sitting under the trees. A big tall gentleman gets up and he starts reading from a list. The number one thing on the list is water, then education for kids, then healthcare – then it comes back to water again.” The community had been trying to get water for 17 years. Howell and his family partnered with CRF in getting the rig all the way out to the community to dig two wells. “Now there is water there and a school there,” he said. Girls who used to spend their days walking to get water now attend school and bring water home from the well on their way.

Howell also became aware that water was in short supply in the Langas area of Eldoret. In subsequent visits, Howell and friends purchased land for another well and eventually a school. “Even the Kenyan’s thought I was crazy.” In January 2021, the Dyron Howell School opened for more than 250 children in Langas.  “It is complicated if you let it be, and it’s simple if you let it be. It’s complicated if you try to solve it all by yourself and it’s simple if you engage others and you empower others and you work together,” said Howell. Since his first visit, Howell has visited Kenya two additional times to support other groups from Lilly Connecting Hearts Abroad and has now helped CRF with a total of six water wells.

While a two-week trip might not seem long enough to make a lasting change, Howell says, “I think two week trips are great if you approach them with the right mindset,” noting that his initial trip set the subsequent activities in motion. “Things don’t always turn out that way, but in this case it did. And I’m grateful.”

“We’re all gifted differently and the real question you have to ask is, are you using the true gifts you have? Are you bold enough to open the door when it’s being knocked on?” he concluded.