Victory Laps in Charlotte!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Morgan Shepherd is one thoughtful race-car driver! Two more lucky kids joined NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd and his Victory in Jesus Racing Team at Charlotte Motorspeedway’s “Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage” this past friday.

Charlotte Boys and Girls Club members Keddrick and De’Majha had the best seats at the event, enjoying an action-packed race by sitting with the crew chief on the pit-box during the race. Joining the kids were guests Martin Sanders, Director of Development for The Salvation Army Greater Charlotte, and Cedric Cook, Unit Director of the Boulevard Homes Boys & Girls Club.

Shepherd entertained the Salvation Army guests with autographs, pictures, lunch and soft drinks. Thereafter, the group enjoyed a roller-skating exhibition – a favorite past-time of Morgan’s. Guests were then entertained throughout the evening in the infield area during driver introductions, The Star-Spangle Banner, Pre-Race Prayer and the race event on pit row.

Shepherd finished 25th that night, continuing his amazing run of consecutive 28th or better finishes in the last six races!

We’ve blogged about The Salvation Army’s connection with Morgan Shepherd’s Victory in Jesus Racing Ministry in the past. Thanks to a partnership formed by Pack and Ferreira, Shepherd has been sporting the “Doing the Most Good” Salvation Army logo on his #89 car since early 2011.

Amid all of this action, Shepherd turned 70 years-old on Wednesday October 12th. Simple Amazing! We are so thankful for his support of The Salvation Army.

Happy Birthday Morgan Shepherd!

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Boys & Girls Club Teen Honored with Trip to Disney World

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thousands of people have seen Ramone Malone in a Salvation Army national commercial shown last Christmas. It features the faces of people helped by The Salvation Army and ends with Ramone saying “thank you.”

Imagine receiving a complimentary weekend at Disney World for you and your family for just being yourself. For high school senior Ramone Malone it was a reality. Ramone, his mother Christi, and his eight year-old brother Ja’Shaun, enjoyed a weekend trip to Disney World recently as a gift from The Salvation Army, but the journey really started when Christi enrolled him at age five at The Salvation Army North Mabee Boys & Girls Club in Tulsa, Okla. To kick off the weekend, the story of Ramone’s life was told in video and narrative in front of more than 2,000 people who attended The Salvation Army National Advisory Organizations Conference (NAOC) at Disney World.

Ramone Malone, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club Member, spoke to more than 2,000 people at the Army’s NAOC Conference.

Ramone’s story included overcoming challenges shared by many inner-city youth who join Boys & Girls Clubs; growing up with a single mom and living in a poor neighborhood where violence is not uncommon. Ramone, wearing a North Mabee club T-shirt, walked on the stage with Salvation Army Tulsa Area Commander Major Roy Williams. Two room-sized video screens flashed with photos of Ramone from when he was a baby to when he played on his high school football team. After his life story was told, he thanked The Salvation Army and the North Mabee Boys & Girls Club for helping him. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Ramone has been accepted to North Eastern Oklahoma State University in the fall and is looking forward to studying business and perhaps playing basketball. After the presentation at the conference, Ramone, Christi and Ja’Shaun, received a “Park Hopper” pass that took them everywhere they wanted to go in Disney World for two days. Ramone, with characteristic optimism, said he wanted to ride all the rides, but it’s likely that the ride of his life was when 2,000 people stood up and applauded him on Saturday morning – for just being himself.

Sallie Godwin is PR Director at the Tulsa Area Command. Sallie began her career as a newspaper reporter and enjoys writing and shooting photographs for six Boys & Girls Clubs and the Center of Hope homeless shelter in Tulsa. She also writes posts for salarmytulsa.blogspot.com.

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Racing with Faith in Richmond

Thursday, May 5, 2011

[Getting ready to head to NASCAR.]
From L to R: Andy, Jeff, Robert, and Major Wayne give big smiles outside The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club before they head to NASCAR.

Two more Salvation Army youth enjoyed an unforgettable opportunity thanks to the generosity of NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd and his Victory in Jesus Racing Team!

Morgan invited the two Boys and Girls Club members, 11 year-old Andy and 14 year-old Robert of Richmond, VA, to the NASCAR Nationwide Series BUBBA Burger 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Accompanied by The Salvation Army’s Major Wayne McHargue and Jeff Baldwin, they received Pit Passes to experience NASCAR the way few people have the chance.

[NASCAR Track]
Thanks to their Pit Passes, the guys watched the race from inside the track. What a view!

[Morgan Shepherd’s #89 Race Car]
There it is – Morgan Shepherd’s #89 Victory in Jesus Race Car…

The guys had access to behind-the-scenes action, watching as crews prepped the cars and officials conducted pre-race inspections. They saw NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, and they even met Morgan Shepherd and hung out in his trailer. Afterward, the group watched qualifying runs and the race in the pit area inside the track!

[Morgan Shepherd poses with Andy and Robert.]
…and here’s the driver himself, Morgan Shepherd, with Andy and Robert!

[Watching the race]
Robert (shown) and Andy were amazed at how LOUD the cars were and how fast they sped around the track. A NASCAR official gave them ear plugs to help drown out the roar of the race.

Andy, Robert and The Salvation Army are extremely grateful for this opportunity that we know these young men will not forget!

We also want to say thank you to Morgan Shepherd and the Race with Faith team for generously donating the hood of their Nationwide Series race car to The Salvation Army. To learn more about Shepherd’s Racing ministry and partnership with The Salvation Army, please visit www.racewithfaith.com.

For more information about The Salvation Army’s work in the Richmond area, visit The Salvation Army’s Central Virginia Area Command on their website here, or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichmondSalvationArmy or on Twitter at twitter.com/SalArmyRichmond.

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NFL’s 2010 Season Kickoff and A Coach You Should Know

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tonight is the official NFL opening kickoff of the 2010 season. The New Orleans Saints will be going head to head with the Minnesota Vikings! Will you be watching?

There’s one man in particular who I wonder if he will be tuning in – Harold Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Name doesn’t ring a bell? I’d be surprised if you did recognize it. But ask Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem, and he’ll know who you’re talking about.

Before Meachem was a Super Bowl champion, a rising star at the University of Tennessee or even raising eyebrows at Booker T. Washington High School, he started his football career as a “Mabee Babie.” That is, during his elementary school years Meachem played football at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Boys & Girls Club in Tulsa. Harold Williams was his coach.

A lot of time and events have passed since Meachem ran the Mabee field as a 4th grade football hopeful, but he still calls his old coach every now and then wanting to know how the Mabee Mustangs are doing. A pro football player keeping tabs on his elementary-years team? I know, it sounds strange, but then again, you wouldn’t be so surprised if you knew Coach Williams.

Williams left a paid position at a private high school to volunteer at The Salvation Army’s North Mabee Center where he’s been coaching for 22 years now. It was a significant change going from a privileged, private high school to a community center in what was known as one of Tulsa’s “tougher” neighborhoods, but Williams’ relationship to his team has always more resembled that of a loving parent than merely a coach.

Many times when talking to me about his team, Williams equated the boys to family. “It was like I had 40 sons. When dads were missing, I had no problem stepping in,” he said. “[My team] always said, ‘Coach loves us.’ I’d say, ‘I hope you know me and like my face because I’m going to know you the rest of your life. I love you because you are.’ ”

Over the decades he’s poured much of himself into the boys who have passed in and out of the football program. Even when the predominantly black team was pelted with racial slurs from their competitors, Williams has taught his Mabee Mustangs the importance of good sportsmanship and following the rules. He’s scrounged up pads and bought out of his own pocket mouth guards for his entire team when they couldn’t afford the most basic football equipment. He’s thrown them pizza parties and planned field trips to local museums, again on his own dime. He’s taught them skills that have made them one of the most noticed and successful football programs in the area today and helped many go on to be notable college and professional players. (Including the Dallas Cowboys’ Felix Jones, Philadelphia Eagles’ Tony Brooks and his brother Reggie Brooks of the Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos’ Marcus Nash, NY Giants’ R.W. McQuarters and the list goes on…)

The lessons and example taught by Coach Williams are lifelong and life changing. His sacrifice has inspired many kids to reject the destructive temptations of the streets and spurred them on to reach their true potential, witnessed by many unknowing NFL and college football spectators.

So it’s not hard to see why Robert Meacham gives Williams a ring once in awhile or why other “Mabee Babies” drop by the Center to watch and assist with practices.

If you do catch the NFL kickoff tonight, enjoy the game and celebrate the official start of the season! But regardless of which team you’re rooting for, take a moment to appreciate the sacrifice of Salvation Army volunteer Harold Williams. Tonight’s game and many others would be a different story if it weren’t for his investment in young athletes.

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Movie Star Takes Five with Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You’ve probably seen actor Bill Pullman in popular films such as Wyatt Earp, Independence Day, Spaceballs, Brokedown Palace or one of the many others in which he’s starred.

But most recently he’s been seen at The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Oklahoma City.

While in town filming his next movie “Bringing Up Bobby,” Pullman happened to meet the club’s program director and was excited to receive an invitation to visit the boys and girls. Soon after, Pullman was standing in a Salvation Army gymnasium being peppered with questions about his acting career and other stars he knows.

It was an awesome time for the kids, but it seems like Pullman was just as eager to meet them!

Check out the video shot by local media outlet NewsOK to see a Pullman interact with The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club and talk about his latest acting venture.

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