In the wake of tragedy, a life can be turned upside down and changed forever. Sometimes, through that tragedy, a person’s dream takes on new life and grows into something bigger. Dusty Faul, father of Tyler Faul, lost his son in an auto accident on corner of US 68 and state Route 125 on June 19, but in his death, Tyler Faul’s passion and goals of opening the Ripley Gourmet Tortilla Factory took on new life.
One evening when Tyler and his brother were working in the Village of Georgetown through a summer youth program they met a man whose tire had blown out and volunteered their father, Dusty, to help with the tire. The man with the car trouble was Syl Flores.
Faul said he listened to Flores talk about the idea of a tortilla factory with skepticism.
“You hear people all the time say ‘I’m going to do this or start that,’” Faul said. “I just sat and let him talk while he made it home, but it sort of became the kid’s pet project.”
Faul said he wasn’t involved early on in the tortilla factory, but said it gave an opportunity for his kids to learn responsibility and gain skills working with Flores. Although he was skeptical the idea would come to fruition, he thought the learning experience would be invaluable for life experience.
“I looked at as something I never got to do when I was young,” Faul said. “I wish I had gotten the opportunity to start something like this.”
Faul did not realize how involved his son had gotten in the Ripley Gourmet Tortilla Factory until after his death. After Tyler Faul had passed, Dusty Faul said he went into his room and found a collection of work for the tortilla factory.
“The way it kind of happened, after he passed I was dealing a lot with that, plus I had another son who was injured and deal with getting him (Tyler) buried and my son in the hospital wanted to be there,” Faul said, “but afterward , when things started to settle in I was over at the house in Tyler’s room and he had boxes and papers everywhere. I started to realize how much this tortilla factory meant to him. This was his dream. Tyler done his homework. He wrote the handbook for the tortilla factory. I got on his laptop and the research he had done on other factories – his notes of ideas and if it were bad he marked it out and wrote bad but he’d keep it. After going through all that, I told my fiance, I’ve got to do something. I’ve got to step up to the plate and that is when we stepped in. Tyler was all about being heard. He had a saying ‘you could be one man, you might not be a powerful man, but you can be heard.’”
Dusty Faul said his knew his son’s dedication to getting the project off the ground, but more importantly, he said now the goal in continuing his son’s legacy is to work with youth in the community to improve conditions of poverty and joblessness.
“This about the kids, this isn’t about us,” Dusty Faul said. “It’s about those in poverty and giving them something to work for. It’s about getting kids off drugs and giving them a job and an opportunity. A lot of parents are set in their ways and don’t have much money but this can change that.”
After over two years of work, the Ripley Gourmet Tortilla Factory opened its doors to the public. Working with A Future Without Poverty, Faul never thought he would be this deep into something, but said he knew it was the right thing to do.
Tyler Faul had many goals during his life time that he will never be able to achieve because his life was cut tragically short, but Dusty Faul said even in his son’s absence, he is still making an impact through all those working hard to help make the business thrive.
Through the hard work of those involved in the factory, new doors have opened and others are being opened. Dusty Faul said he hoped soon to not only be selling to the public, but in stores in the area and regionally.
He said things are in the works to get the tortilla is major stores as well as local restaurants. He said hope to grow the garden where most of the ingredients for the tortilla comes from by using greenhouses and being able to grown year round to keep things local, but said buy things like tomatoes off local growers might be in the future plans.
While Tyler Faul may have lost his life in June, his vision is starting to impact the lives of those in poverty in southern Brown County. While Flores works on funding, Dusty Faul and his family are working on making sure operations run smooth and soundly.
Visiting Main Street in Ripley, someone now can stop in purchase a delicious spinach or tomato basil wrap with locally grown ingredients from local manufacturers. Tyler Faul’s goal of being heard is starting to take off.