New recovery house named in honor of Harley Dilly

Jul 2, 2024 | Featured, Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

The family of Harley Dilly are grateful that Light House Sober Living named its new recovery house in honor of Harley. From left, Marcus Dilly, Heather Dilly, Carolee Styndl and Bob Styndl attended the ribbon cutting for the home on June 27. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Since 14-year-old Harley Dilly tragically passed away in a Port Clinton home in 2019, his parents, Heather and Marcus Dilly, would look at the empty house across the street from their own home, and their grief would deepen. The quiet starkness of the house was a constant reflection of their own loss.

Now, Light House Sober Living has transformed the Fulton St. home into a Level 1 recovery house for men. The once-desolate house is now bristling with active hope and has been named Harley’s House in honor of Harley Dilly.

As the men hauled their clothes and books and furniture into the home this summer, they pushed out the darkness that had overshadowed the Dillys’ home for five years.

“It’s been really hard to live across the street from it. Seeing the empty house was so hard,” Heather said. “When they told me they were naming the house after Harley, I had to hug them.”

Harley’s death shocked the Port Clinton community, and while some towns would choose to push those painful memories aside, Light House is making sure Harley is never forgotten. Light House Sober Living Executive Director Kenn Bower, Jr., talked about the decision to name the home after Harley during a June 27 ribbon cutting hosted by the Port Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Our goal is to not forget Harley and not shut the door on what happened,” Bower said. “We want to start a new chapter on the corner of Fulton Street and make this a house of hope.”

The Port Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting for Harley’s House, a new Level 1 recovery house for men in Port Clinton. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

Ottawa County Common Pleas Judge Bruce Winters was among the large crowd of people who attended the ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of Harley’s House. Winters has greatly impacted the local sober community through his compassion and his court’s DATA program, commonly referred to as Drug Court. He argued the idea that Harley’s House, which is Light House’s third recovery home, is an indication of excessive drug use in the county.

“It’s a sign of a healthy and vibrant community,” Winters said. “This home is another step toward making Ottawa County a healthy, happy, good place to be.”

The home has made that corner of Fulton Street a happier place for Harley’s family, including his grandparents, Bob and Carolee Styndl, who also attended the ribbon cutting.

“They named it after Harley. Now he has a legacy,” Carolee said.

Heather is grateful that the home that brought so much grief to her family is now the steppingstone to a better life for local men.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Heather said. “This home will give the men a reason to keep going and transition out.”

A bench has been placed in the home’s yard in honor of Harley, and Heather said the Light House board is planning more ways to honor her son, including possible improvements to the backyard, where the men can visit with their children.

“There is more stuff to come. It will be nice that their kids can come here to play,” Heather said. “It won’t be so sad anymore.”

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