Jon Boyce and his grandson Deven, 14, pack up in May before starting a bike trip across the country. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jon Boyce and his grandson Deven, 14, pack up in May before starting a bike trip across the country. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

8 weeks, 3,000 miles for Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center

Mukilteo teen rode his bike across the country to help raise money for the center that helped him.

MUKILTEO — Deven Boyce had several reasons for pedaling his bike more than 3,000 miles from the Mukilteo Lighthouse to the Statue of Liberty.

He likes biking.

He wanted to prove to himself he could do it, even though he was only 14.

And he wanted to make it bigger than himself by raising money for Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center in Everett.

Deven’s first stop on his cross-country journey in June was to thank the staff at Dawson Place.

About 1,100 children annually receive services from Dawson Place. Deven was helped by the agency over the three years while his grandparents, Jon and Marilyn Boyce, gained legal custody of him.

Deven raised about $10,000 for Dawson Place on the trip, named “Light to Liberty” that was followed in several Daily Herald stories. The ride started at the Mukilteo Lighthouse in June with a community sendoff and ended at the Statue of Liberty. It spanned eight weeks, 18 states, three flat tires and a slew of roadkill.

Deven wrote a letter thanking the 70 people who donated money to Dawson Place.

“Dawson Place came into my life when I needed help,” he wrote. “They listened and helped me. It changed my life. I decided to ride across America to prove to myself that I could. Another reason I made this trip was so more kids like me could get the help they need from Dawson Place.”

Dawson Place has five agencies under one roof to serve children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse or witness to violent crimes. The center also offers prevention education, outreach and a 16-week parenting class. Everything is at no cost to the clients.

Lori Vanderburg, Dawson Place director, said Deven’s ride was inspiring.

‘We are so grateful for Deven and his grandfather for all the work they did and all the ways they promoted Dawson Place and reached out to educate other kids,” Vanderburg said.

Deven had been on long bike rides with his grandfather, also an avid cyclist who’d pedaled across the country in his 30s. But this time, Grandpa Jon Boyce was his one-man pit crew, following in a 2004 Toyota van packed with supplies.

Paul Hoffman (left to right) and Jon Boyce pray for Deven to start his cross-country trek at the Mukilteo Lighthouse on June 2. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Paul Hoffman (left to right) and Jon Boyce pray for Deven to start his cross-country trek at the Mukilteo Lighthouse on June 2. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

The journey began with Deven dipping his bike’s front tire in Puget Sound at Lighthouse Park as about 40 people cheered and prayed.

Boyce, 73, planned the cross-country venture on a retiree’s budget. There were many days of eating cups of noodles, canned tuna and green beans.

The duo stopped at numerous historical landmarks, petrified forest and went whitewater rafting. They also visited a child advocacy center in Montana.

They stayed at a few motels and friends’ places, but most nights were at campgrounds or in homes through Warm Showers, a hospitality exchange service for cyclists. Hosts included an Army buddy of Boyce’s, a math teacher fluent in five languages and a couple who collect whistles. In Montana, their husband-and-wife hosts were retired FBI agents who let Deven pose with a taxidermy cougar shot with a pistol.

“I wanted him to meet America,” Boyce said. “If you want to meet the people, do it on a bicycle. In a car, it just kind of goes past you.”

For the teen, there was boredom on long, flat stretches of road, off the cell grid, with radio static or country music for company. Some days he biked 100 miles.

They made it to the Statue of Liberty in early August.

Then it was off to Europe for a month to explore and meet with friends,

From there, Deven flew back to Mukilteo. Boyce returned to the East Coast and drove the van back alone from New Jersey.

Deven made it back in time to start his freshman year at Kamiak High School and attend enough practices to play on the freshman football team.

A pancake block party breakfast was held to welcome Deven home. The Mukilteo police even stopped by.

For more information, call 425-789-3000 or visit

Andrea Brown:; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

More in Local News

FILE - A sign hangs at a Taco Bell on May 23, 2014, in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Declaring a mission to liberate "Taco Tuesday" for all, Taco Bell asked U.S. regulators Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to force Wyoming-based Taco John's to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Hepatitis A confirmed in Taco Bell worker in Everett, Lake Stevens

The health department sent out a public alert for diners at two Taco Bells on May 22 or 23.

VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Coming soon to Marysville: indoor pickleball, games, drinks

“We’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit,” says co-owner Allan Jones, who is in the fun industry.

Detectives: Unresponsive baby was exposed to fentanyl at Everett hotel

An 11-month-old boy lost consciousness Tuesday afternoon. Later, the infant and a twin sibling both tested positive for fentanyl.

Cassie Franklin (left) and Nick Harper (right)
Report: No wrongdoing in Everett mayor’s romance with deputy mayor

An attorney hired by the city found no misuse of public funds. Texts between the two last year, however, were not saved on their personal phones.

Firearm discovered by TSA officers at Paine Field Thursday morning, May 11, 2023, during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint. (Transportation Security Administration)
3 guns caught by TSA at Paine Field this month — all loaded

Simple travel advice: Unpack before you pack to make sure there’s not a gun in your carry-on.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go early or late

AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Troopers: DUI crash leaves 1 in critical condition in Maltby

A drunken driver, 34, was arrested after her pickup rear-ended another truck late Tuesday, injuring a Snohomish man, 28.

Housing Hope CEO Donna Moulton raises her hand in celebration of the groundbreaking of the Housing Hope Madrona Highlands on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$30M affordable housing project to start construction soon in Edmonds

Once built, dozens of families who are either homeless or in poverty will move in and receive social and work services.

A south-facing view of the proposed site for a new mental health facility on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, near 300th Street NW and 80th Avenue NW north of Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
County Council OK’s Stanwood behavioral health center

After an unsuccessful appeal to block it, the Tulalip Tribes are now on the cusp of building the 32-bed center in farmland.

Most Read