The walk sign-up will begin that morning at 8:00 a.m., on the tarmac at the East end of the Henderson Center, 1800 Third Avenue in Huntington on the MU campus. Following the walk down Third Avenue to 10th Street, up to Fifth Avenue, then down to 28th Street and back up Third to the Henderson Center, former MU football coach Bob Pruett will be the featured speaker to the group. After Pruett's remarks, the Marshall-based Christian band Revolution will perform. "This is an opportunity for Christians to come together and make a real and lasting difference in the lives of our middle scholl, high school and college kids," said Stephens. The Huntington Area FCA has chapters in nearly half of the area schools, which number just over 70. You can contact FCA at 304-633-8353 or Tim Stephens by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org on the world-wide web.
Speaking for Marshall student-athletes who are involved were Thundering Herd basketball player Jill Justice, who is from the Lewisburg, W.Va. area, and Kai Nordness from the women's soccer team. "FCA is a great organization and it gives our athletes an area to come together to discuss problems and grow in Christ," said Justice. Nordess echoed those sentiments. "FCA is a huge encouragement in my life," said the former goal keeper for the Herd, who hails from Burnsville, Minnesota. "Life as an athlete is hard. Having a group that understands those challenges is a huge encouragement to me. Our athletes can sit and chat...or challenge each other in faith."
This event will also tie into Youth Fest in Ashland, an annual Christian music concert at the riverfront in Ashland, Kentuck, just 20 minutes from Huntington. "They will give us some tickets and at the end of our event, we hope people will caravan over to Ashland for Youth Fest," said Stephens. "It should be a tremendous event and great day for both events." Tickets to Youth Fest are $20, but Stephens said participants in the free "Walk For Christ" in Huntington can purchase tickets for just $12 through FCA.
It will be an open weekend for the Thundering Herd football program, who will play UCF on Wednesday, October 4, for national television coverage, so head coach Mark Snyder and many players will participate in the event. "Myself and quite a few of our players will be involved in taking our Walk For Christ," said Snyder as he prepared for day one of August camp at the stadium. He sees great benefit for players from their association with FCA. "Especially the time and age of these young people in Marshall athletics, you have to have someone to go to for guidance, or spiritual guidance. Reverand Bob Bondurant (the MU team chaplin), Tim Stephens and Ralph May (former Marshall quarterback and coach and former director of the Big Green, who has been a part of FCA for many years) do a great job with FCA and we will definitely be a part of it."
Women's basketball assistant John Sutherland also will be involved in the walk. "We are imperfect people as student-athletes and coaches," said Sutherland, "and are constantly trying to cope with the things life and competition throw at us. FCA is a place we can come together where nobody has to be perfect to be a member. Our common bond is Christ and FCA serves athletes and coaches by putting Christ in the middle of our lives."
The walk is not a fund-raiser, although Stephens said donations will be accepted. The top three fundraisers among FCA participants will receive a full scholarship to next summer's camp. Persons who raise $500 for FCA will receive a FCA hooded sweatshirt, while $300 gets a FCA sports duffle bag and $200 gets a FCA t-shirt. Contact Stephens for information on the fund-raising as well as additional information on the walk, coming up September 30 at the MU Henderson Center.