About Us

What happened to Ryan is why we are on this mission to save lives through the education and awareness of gun safety, and a message that “accidents happen to even the most seasoned of gun owners.”


Saving Lives Through Ryan, SLTR, was created in memory of Ryan Heilman. Ryan loved spending time with family and friends, playing baseball, working on cars, and helping others. He was a left-handed pitcher for his Alma Mater of Dutch Fork High School and Florence-Darlington Tech. He was an Eagle Scout and continued in scouting as an assistant scout leader. After earning his degree in automotive technology, Ryan was employed by Jim Hudson Toyota as a certified technician. It was his love of helping others that lead him to become a volunteer firefighter with the Columbia Fire Department.


Ryan was an experienced gun owner and handler, earning his CWP in early 2013. Yet tragically, on June 28th, 2013, while cleaning his gun, Ryan, at the age of 25, accidentally and fatally shot himself. Saving Lives Through Ryan strives to teach people new to gun handling, and remind those already familiar, the importance of safety while in the presence of a firearm.


Whether you have firearms in your home or not, it is critical to know how to safely handle situations involving firearms. SLTR is active with community events throughout the Midlands. SLTR also provides free educational materials and seminars with speakers skilled in gun handling, storage, and law enforcement regulations.