Custom guitar raffle aimed at saving Upstate children’s lives

"Kellie Rynn's Guitar" named after baby who died at a Greenville home daycare in 2014

Kellie Rynn's Guitar, pictured here, is being raffled off in memory of a baby who died in a Greenville home daycare in 2014.

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – A custom guitar made right here at home is saving the lives of Upstate children.

“Kellie Rynn’s Guitar” was made in memory of a baby who died in a Greenville home daycare in 2014. Now it’s being raffled off to help create safer daycare options for Upstate families.

The raffle for this guitar ends Monday at midnight and it could be yours with a donation to Kellie Rynn Academy. Organizers say every dollar will go towards their ongoing scholarship to help create safe accessible daycare opportunities for lower income families.

The guitar’s creator, Steve Hayes, this was a work of love.

“When Kellie Rynn passed away, it was tough on all of us. I wanted to do something to show my love for them,” said Hayes.

Living just two doors down from the heartbroken grandparents of Kellie Rynn Martin, the long time wood worker got an idea.

“Why not make a guitar,” said Hayes.

He’d call it “Kellie Rynn’s Guitar” with the hope that its music would be a catalyst for change. Hayes called on neighbors who helped with the supplies and he got to work.

“[It took] probably about 200 hours,” said Hayes.

When it was complete, Hayes brought the guitar to the Martin family with idea to raffle it off. Still, to really make an impact, he knew people needed to hear his handiwork.

“When I first had the idea I thought, “Boy, if we could get Edwin McCain or someone like that [to play it],” said Hayes.

McCain, a Greenville native with several chart topping hits, agreed to play. His song went on YouTube.

Newspring worship leader, Lee McDermitt, added his talents, as did Olympic silver medalist, Sandi Morris. You can see their videos HERE.

Soon, many people across the community took a turn at the special instrument, with each player signing the guitar strap. Darius Rucker heard about the guitar and signed another strap to be included with the guitar.

Hayes admits it’s going to be tough to hand off his labor of love to the lucky winner, but he trusts this also means he can keep what happened to Kellie Rynn from ever happening to another child.

“I’ve thought of Kellie Rynn every moment I was building it; how her life was so short, but she’s touched so many people,” said Hayes.

The winner will be announced Tuesday, September 20th. If that winner lives close enough, they will be able to pick it up, Tuesday, at Smoke on the Water restaurant in downtown Greenville. Tuesday, the restaurant is donating 100% of food and drink sales to Kellie Rynn Academy.

Click HERE to enter the raffle and learn more about Kellie Rynn Academy.

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