EVANSVILLE — This month, Oliver Dill would have turned six years old. “Ollie,” as his family affectionately calls him, was tough on the outside, and sweet on the inside.
“Ollie was my little sour patch kid,” Jamie Dill, Ollie’s mom, said.
It’s birthdays, holidays, and certain times of year that Jamie and the Dill family struggle through.
“Summertime and this heat always reminds me of the accident,” Dill said.
Nearly three years ago this July, Ollie died after he was accidentally left in a hot car in Evansville. Jamie said the family was out of routine that day. She normally drove the then three-year-old to daycare, but that day her husband did. Dill said her husband went on autopilot. He went straight to work and Ollie never made it to daycare.
"He left for work with Ollie in the back seat and he just forgot Ollie was in the back seat. He went straight to his office, and he didn't even realize Ollie wasn't dropped off until he went back to his car to pick up Ollie from daycare,” Dill said.
A year after his death — the Dill family started “Be Kind for Ollie.”
“We try to just get through it. There’s no other way to do it other than one foot in front of the other,” Dill said.
The foundation is focused on educating families on hot car deaths, while also giving back to the community.
“Realize it can happen to you that is the biggest part of the education and prevention process,” Dill said.
“Be Kind for Ollie” also strives to “improve the lives of kids.” One way is through little lending libraries in Evansville cemeteries that are filled with books on bereavement and grief.
“Sometimes when a loved one has passed away, people don’t feel like going to the library, they don’t want to go to bookstores. Sometimes the only place they can go is a cemetery,” Dill said. The nonprofit also raised money for early education scholarships and is in the process of creating comfort bags to donate to local law enforcement.
Above all here, the Dill family wants the community to practice kindness — be kind for Ollie.
“Any parent wants their child to live on forever and that's one of the things that we hope Ollie’s still doing even when we're gone. We want him to continue to make a difference and that's why we started this nonprofit in his memory, so he can save more children,” Dill said.
Those interested in donating, learning more or volunteering with Be Kind for Ollie, can click here.
The map below shows where hot car deaths have happened since 2018 in Indiana, according to KidsandCars.org.