ADDISON, N.Y. (WETM) – The Addison community continues to honor the life of Blake Driskell, who passed away last June after a hiking accident.

Blake Driskell, local teen who brought a community together, passes away

Rylin Stratton, a 5-year-old whose family grew up with the Driskell’s, loves to read and received books from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. After she turned five, however, the program ended.

Knowing that she and other kids wouldn’t receive anymore books, Rylin had a big idea.

“For little kids that are five year old, that doesn’t get books from Dolly Parton’s World anymore, I want them to have free books from them!”

Rylin’s mom thought about ways to help collect books for Kindergarteners who no longer receive books from the Imagination Library. She reached out to Kim Driskell, Blake’s mom, to see if Blake’s Army, the community group that’s supported the Driskell’s, can help collect books for Rylin’s book drive.

The idea clicked with Kim because Blake was held back as a September baby, meaning he got to experience two years of Kindergarten.

In addition to collecting books for the drive, Kim looked for a way to honor Blake and his army.

“Is there a way I could customize a book that they could also read during story hour to tie in?”

Kim connected with iSeeMe, a company that personalizes children’s book, to create a Blake’s Army book.

Kim is now raising money to help pay for enough Blake’s Army books for 74 Kindergarteners at Tuscarora Elementary School for students on Read Across America Day to receive in addition to any kid-friendly books that can be donated.

Book donations can be dropped off at Johnny and Junes at 84 Front Street in Addison or American National Insurance at 77 Canal Street in Big Flats.

First Responders supporting Blake Strong

For more information or to make a monetary donation towards Blake’s Army books, visit the Blakes’s Army Facebook page.