One Time for Daylen: How Dimples Jones is turning tragedy into hope after the loss of her son

When Daylen Joseph Jones was born, his parents, Dimples ’10, ’13, and Darrell Jones, knew he was destined to leave his mark on the world. 

“I would describe Daylen as a kind and gentle giant, wise beyond his years. He never met a stranger,” said Dimples. “Just a really great kid with an attentive spirit and genuine care for everyone he met whether for a short or long term.” 

A straight-A student at Regina Howell Elementary School, an athlete in the community, a young mentor and a kind friend –– it was clear that 9-year-old Daylen’s future was bright. 

“Like my oldest son Ben, Daylen loved to play football and he would often tell his big brother Ben how he wanted to be better than him and he’d say, ‘I’ll be more famous than you, just watch and see,’” Dimples recalled. “That was a part of their special brotherly bond.” Dimples Jones

Sadly, Daylen never made it past the fourth grade. In December of 2018, his life was cut short after an auto pedestrian accident –– a tragedy that rocked the Jones family to its core. 

“A big piece of me went away when we lost Daylen because he was truly an awesome kid,” Dimples said, her eyes now filled with tears. “He was such a joy to not only our household, but so many others as well.  
Much to the Jones’ surprise, more than 1,000 visitors attended Daylen’s funeral. Teachers, coaches, family and close friends gathered to share their stories of a selfless Daylen who dreamed big, loved hard and always put others above himself. 

“I didn’t actually realize that Daylen touched so many people until he passed away,” Dimples said, recalling one moment when she recognized how special Daylen was not only to her family, but to those around them.  
“Before I gave birth to Daylen, I was given three baby showers –– there were so many gifts. From the front door of my living room all the way to the back wall, there were gifts to honor his birth,” she said. “After Daylen’s passing, that same room that was once filled with gifts to celebrate him coming into the world was now filled with nothing but flowers to honor him leaving this world.” 
While the Jones family worked to pick up the pieces, they found solace from the support of the Beaumont community.  

In 2019, the Beaumont Little Dribblers, a local basketball team that Daylen participated in, wore headbands with his name and the number nine stitched on the front to symbolize Daylen’s jersey number.  That year, the team went on to win the championship game and gifted the Jones’ with a trophy and championship ring to remember their fallen teammate. 

In remembrance of his kindness, Regina Howell Elementary School dedicated its Kindness Rock Garden to Daylen’s memory and retired his No. 32 basketball jersey, which now hangs in the foyer of the school, along with a No. 32 banner which also hangs in the school gymnasium.  

One Time for DaylenThe West Beaumont Bruins Little League Football players wore an angel wing patch on their jerseys along with a No. 1 halo sticker on their helmets, which symbolized Daylen’s jersey number, in honor of their long-time teammate.  

“At every game, both before and after, the team would chant ‘One time for Daylen! One time for Daylen,” Dimples said with her index finger pointed up. “It was their special chant that they did to signify that he was always with them.” 

From book dedications and balloon releases to basketball camps and remembrance ceremonies –– the tributes to Daylen continued for months to come. Though, nearly one year exactly after his death, Dimples decided it was time for their family to find their own way to continue Daylen’s legacy. 
“My husband and I met a family that went through a similar tragedy of losing a young child. We shared stories about our grief journeys and that family had a close friend that wrote a book about their son,” she said. “We purchased their book; read it and we immediately knew what we wanted to do.” 

Dimples reached out to author Anika Fontenette-Porter and shared stories of an imaginative Daylen who loved to dress in superhero costumes, playing football, basketball, baseball, soccer and traveling all while helping others and sharing his infectious personality. 
In March of 2022, “One Time for Daylen” was born. Inspired by the vibrant life of 9-year-old Daylen Joseph Jones, “One Time for Daylen” was written to bring hope to those coping with the loss of a loved one. With his angel wings in tow, Daylen’s character takes the reader on his adventure of befriending a newcomer in heaven. Staying true to his kind and helpful spirit, he shows his new friend the possibilities and hopefulness of heaven, while also reflecting on some of his favorite memories of his own life. One Time for Daylen - open book

“The book is a tribute to Daylen’s life and legacy, which continues to tell his story, with hopes that it will lead others toward understanding and give peace while dealing with grief,” Dimples said. “It’s a story of hope, fun, kindness laughter, family, celebrations and friendship.” 

The captivating tale is also paired with a grief workbook that Dimples and her husband Darrell consider a labor of love that they hold near and dear. 

“When you’re grieving, sometimes you don’t know what to say, how to say it or you just don’t want to speak to anyone,” she admitted. “The workbook is kid and adult-friendly with emojis and all sorts of creative pages for writing. It truly is a great tool for anyone who needs help expressing loss.” 
As it stands, “One Time for Daylen” has sold more than 250 copies, which also consists of 11 Beaumont Independent School District elementary schools that hold a total of 50 copies; One BISD middle school that has five books; Redeemer Lutheran Daycare, a daycare that Daylen attended, that has 10 copies; and Discovery Learning Center, which has five books. Also, “One Time for Daylen” was featured and read on a live segment of “Tucked in Tuesdays” by LU alumna Dr. Belinda George’04, ’08, ’15. 

Dimples, who has worked at Lamar University in the College of Education and Human Development for more than 22 years, stated that the university recently purchased a copy of the book that now sits in the Mary and John Gray Library. 

Now, four years after Daylen’s death, Dimples and Darrell continue pressing on and helping others in grieving the loss of loved ones. The pair often hands out grief baskets to those who have lost a young child or children who have lost a parent. Their mission? To tell Daylen’s story and spread a message of hope through tragedy. 
“It’s funny because after Daylen’s passing, my son Ben said to me, ‘Mom, guess what? Daylen is more famous than me now,’ and we laugh about that,” she said. “At first, I was a little hesitant to tell our story, but with all the memories that we have of Daylen, memories truly are special moments that tell our stories. I just feel like our journey has purpose and that purpose is to keep Daylen’s legacy alive.” 

“One Time for Daylen” is available for purchasing at