Friday June 23, 2017

About Us

Project 52 was founded by Dustin Blythe, Bill Clark and Pastor John Dawson.

On August 12th, 2006, on a three-hour flight from Houston to Honduras for a mission trip, three guys who where total strangers (Blythe, Clark and Dawson) sat next to each other because their names were in alphabetical order. All three quickly forged a friendship that week.

As they learned more about each other and served the poor of Honduras, their experience ignited them to dream about how they could help others. On August 19th, 2006, as they sat together on the flight home, Dustin, Bill and John bounced ideas off each other and agreed they would form a charity to serve others when they got back. They just didn’t know what that charity looked like yet.

Unbeknownst to them, upon arrival back in Omaha one of them would receive devastating news that would change all of their lives forever. During the flight home and hundreds of miles away, Dustin’s son, Treye Blythe, had been murdered. Treye was 18 at the time and had been at a house party. He was tragically stabbed to death when he tried to pull a friend out of a fight.

Treye lost his life trying to help a friend he barely knew. Despite this devastating loss, Dustin, Bill and Pastor John continued to work on their dream of helping others. The name “Project 52” came about one night when Bill was looking at a picture of Treye wearing his football jersey. His number was 52.

2006 MissionThe idea of who the charity could serve came shortly after Treye’s death: Dustin’s friends planted a red maple tree in the Blythe backyard, and friends of Treye’s mom, Lisa, also planted a tree in memory of Treye. These gifts gave inspired the idea to serve grieving families by honoring the departed and blessing those left behind.

The group soon learned that 52 was the perfect number, as they wanted to help others 52 weeks a year— not just once a year on a mission trip or at Christmas. And of course Psalm 52 is perfect in light of the Trees to Remember Program — “But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.