Patrick and Mary Dirk, and their daughter, Lorrie Dirk Brown, are long-time supporters of Mary’s Path. Lorrie also serves on our Board of Directors. They have agreed to speak with us for our inaugural feature introducing supporters of Mary’s Path.
Thank you for your support of Mary’s Path these years, and for your leadership, Lorrie. Patrick and Mary, tell us about yourselves.
How did you come to California?
PD & MD: We are originally from North Dakota where we met in high school and fell in love 62 years ago. All of our children were born while in North Dakota. We moved to Minnesota after Patrick finished his Master’s Degree. While in Minnesota, Mary continued to be a stay-at-home Mom and Patrick continued his business career. We lived in Minnesota for almost 19 years and while there we opened a business – Troy Group – in 1982. In 1987 a business opportunity brought us to Orange County California. Today, we have business operations in California, West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
Among Troy Group’s businesses is an olive farm in Paso Robles, Pasolivo, and we love to spend time there. The product is world-renowned and is privately purchased through our website and tasting rooms. Paso Robles is home to dozens of wineries and is now a world destination.
For us, family is #1. We have been blessed with 4 beautiful children, 14 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. We have been blessed and always taught our children that is important to give back.
Lorrie, tell us about yourself.
LB: My husband, Lindsay and I moved our family back to California from Minnesota 5 years ago. We have 4 children and 1 grandchild. My parents always had some charity to give time, talent and treasure to. They taught us the importance of giving. In Minnesota, I was involved with the Children’s Hospital, the Junior League, and I taught classes at our church and school. When we moved to California I got involved with the children’s classes at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Queen of Angels. Through my parents, I learned of Mary’s Path and I was attracted to the mission. It’s the organization that is most near and dear to my heart.
How did you come to know about Mary’s Path?
PD: 20 years ago, a former board member, Pat Powers, and I were discussing how to help teen mothers and their babies have a happy and healthy future. He asked me what I was doing about it and went on to explain the mission of Mary’s Path “Saving Two Lives at a Time”. That sounded like a good way to give tangible help. So we investigated the organization and started to follow them. Mary and I served on the board of advisors for several years, giving insights and suggestions, and later they recognized us for our work. Then Lorrie became even more involved than we had been. We have seen Mary’s Path evolve from the dream of the founding Board to what it is today. We are a blessed family. Mary and I both came from families of modest means, but we have always been involved in charities as much as we can. Sometimes that was giving our hands and heart only, we didn’t have much money. But we have always wanted to give back and support organizations and causes we believe in.
What is it about Mary’s Path that touches your hearts?
PD & MD: It’s the mission of serving young mothers. Helping make things easier for them is so important. A few years ago, Mary and I took some of the moms from Mary’s Path and the Executive Director to hear a concert by the Pacific Symphony. None of them had been to a concert or a concert hall before. One of the girls was 13 and said, “I want to bring my baby here someday.” It touched our hearts. Mary’s Path shows teen moms that there is another path, something else available to reach for. Lorrie, as a member of the Board, what are your hopes and dreams for Mary’s Path?LB: My hope for Mary’s Path is that someday we are able to continue providing assistance to the mothers and babies that are aging out of the system. We want to be a part of their family support for as long as they need us. Once you’re part of the Mary’s Path family, you’re always part of the Mary’s Path family.
Is there anything else you think our readers should know?
LB: All of us on the Board have a great deal of confidence in where Mary’s Path is headed. The plans are strong and well designed and the money is used wisely and with great care. As a donor or a potential donor you are making a wise investment. In my view, no money is wasted. It is all well managed. Mary’s Path is committed to doing this important work, and we are one of the few organizations in California that serves teen moms and their babies in this way.