North Moore's Triplets Graduate Friday
When Janet Dunn found out she was pregnant in 1992, she was told she would be having twin boys. With this in mind, she and her husband, Michael, planned to name their sons Taylor and Tyler.
Much to their surprise, however, they would soon welcome triplets, not twins, into the world.
“[The doctor] told me I would only be having twins, so when I found out I was having triplets, I let Adam [the triplets’ older brother] pick the third name,” Janet says.
Adam, who is 12 years older than the triplets, wanted to name his third brother after his favorite actor, Matt Dillon.
“We decided we would switch the names around instead,” Janet says with a chuckle. “We named him Dillon Matthew, which confuses a lot of people because ‘Dillon’ is spelled with an ‘i’ instead of a ‘y’.”
On May 11, 1993, Taylor Lynn, Tyler Lee and Dillon Matthew Dunn were born at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill because of the hospital’s advanced care for multiples, but soon came home to Moore County.
The triplets were born at 31 weeks, and as a result they experienced respiratory problems.
“Dillon had to come home in a heart monitor, but it didn’t stop him one little bit,” Janet says. “People were very, very kind and good to us. Some people would say, ‘Better you than me [to raise triplets],’ but I would always say, ‘I’m glad it’s me!’”
Eighteen years later, all three of the triplets have grown into healthy young men who will soon be graduating from North Moore High School and heading out on different paths into their adult lives.
Taylor, who was the first of the triplets to be born, will enroll in the Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Educational Training) Program at Guilford Tech Community College. After he finishes his training he will be a certified Ford mechanic.
“I’m interested in pretty much cars and stuff like that. That’s all me and my buddies ever really mess with,” says Taylor, who built his own Mustang for his senior project.
Taylor earned a scholarship and a Pell Grant to help pay for school.
Tyler, the second triplet born, will attend Sandhills Community College to study civil engineering. He intends to find a job as a surveyor or a building inspector when he finishes school.
“I like building stuff, and I like hunting a lot,” says Tyler, who serves as a volunteer fireman.
Tyler earned the Home Builders Scholarship, which gives him $1,500 toward the cost of school.
Dillon, the third triplet, will attend the College of Natural Resources at N.C. State University. He is planning on becoming an FBI agent or starting his own business.
“When we were younger we had this wood lot behind our house — and it’s kind of weird because I’m going into natural resources and forestry — and this guy clear-cut it and left all this brush, and we would go back there and hang out and play,” says Dillon, recalling a good memory of playing with his brothers.
Dillon earned four merit scholarships from N.C. State, as well as the Farm Bureau Agriculture Scholarship, a four-year award worth $3,000 each year.
All three have essentially stayed true to the career paths they were interested in when they started kindergarten. Taylor wanted to be a dirt bike rider, Tyler wanted to be a deer hunter, and Dillon wanted to be a woodcutter.
“It’s like they always knew what they wanted to be!” Janet says.
Each of the three boys says he is easily recognized by just about everybody in their community.
“Everywhere I go, in all of northern Moore County, if people don’t know my name, they know I’m a triplet,” Dillon says. “They’ll say, ‘You’re one of those Dunn boys, one of those triplets,’ so we’re pretty well-known around here.
“We like to pick that, being so close to everybody and having such a small school, you can’t avoid people,” Dillon says. “I think growing up around here, it can lead you to either have a more secluded life or an honest life because you can’t get away with too much around here — everybody knows everybody.”
Perhaps as a result of the familiarity of the community, each of the triplets says he will always consider Moore County his home, even if he is not living there.
“All my family is here, so I’ll probably stay [in Moore County] — I don’t have any plans to move off,” Tyler says. “All my friends are here, and I know [the county]. I might move off, but I doubt it.”
Although they will always consider the same place as home, in a few months the triplets will be living separately from each other. Dillon will move to Raleigh, while Tyler will be living at home in Robbins, and Taylor will be commuting between Greensboro and Robbins.
“It’ll just be like, you ain’t got nobody to look at to ask them something [when we all move away]. It’ll just be different. You’ll be by yourself sometimes,” Taylor says. “When we first moved down here, I didn’t even know what our phone number was, and I’d always ask them.”
Despite the distance between them, Taylor, Tyler and Dillon are confident they will remain as close as they have always been.
“When I go to State, I’m going to let people I get close to know that, yeah, I have two triplet brothers, but I don’t want it to be me. I don’t want ‘triplets’ to be ‘Dillon,’ I want ‘Dillon’ to be part of the triplets,” Dillon says. “But I would rather be a triplet than not be a triplet.”
“We’ve been together since we were little,” says Tyler with a smile. “I don’t think [our closeness] will change.”
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