A mix collection of inspirational stories gathered from the internet and personal experiences.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Leaving Your Mark

By Terry Laney
Who in leaving a lasting mark on the next generation? YOU are!

I just returned from the 40th anniversary reunion of Wofford College's undefeated 1970 football team, winning 20 games in a row over 2 years. Having never been to any kind of reunion before, I didn't know what to expect. There were 38 attendees and I was amazed to see and hear how each had moved from success to significance. "Of course, being a child football prodigy, I was the youngest by 10 years."

What struck me was although we had all gone our separate ways over the 40 years (with the exception of my roommate, Tom Bower, for my last 2 years of college, who also is the godfather to my daughter, Meredith), were the similarities in our drive towards service to others in our lives. Our former defensive backfield coach, Fisher DeBerry, (who coached football at the Air Force Academy for 23 years, and is the winningest service academy football coach in history, wrote a book titled "Power of Influence") was also in attendance.

Our 1970 team had no superstars, just a bunch of college kids, many of whom would not have been able to attend college without that all important scholarship. We had one teammate, another former roommate, Ed Wile, who boldly stated that he would have either been dead or in jail, if not for the scholarship he received to attend Wofford. As a side note, Ed was inducted into the Wofford Hall of Fame just three weeks ago.

I don't recall whose scholarship he attended under, but I do recall mine. While still in high school, I was awarded a full scholarship. During my high school senior year, I was hurt in our 3rd game of the season. I couldn't get out of bed the following Monday and had to be taken to the hospital where I spent the next 16 days having to learn to walk again. Not knowing if I would ever be able to play again, the scholarship was withdrawn. After high school graduation I attended a prep school for a semester to test my ability to play again, transferred to Wofford in time for spring practice and was awarded an "all books scholarship" for the coming year.

Ultimately, I was awarded a full scholarship funded by a former player at Wofford, a quarterback by the name of Charles Bradshaw. I didn't take the opportunity to know or even thank Charles Bradshaw 40 years ago; an opportunity missed. His scholarship left a lasting mark on me, bringing me to where I am today.
The similarities between my experience this past weekend and the experiences our Habitat families have as a result of our sponsors, donors, volunteers and staff are remarkable...they ALL leave a lasting mark on the next generation. Charles Bradshaw's favorite receiver at Wofford was a guy named Richardson. His first name is Jerry, he played for the Baltimore Colts after graduation and is now owner of the Carolina Panthers. Famous now, but not so famous then. Mr. Bradshaw, thank you for making a lasting mark on the next generation 40 years ago.

Coach Deberry spoke to us at dinner Friday night, talking about that team, so many years ago, which had such a profound influence on him. He went on to say you don't need to be a superstar, a celebrity or a household name to make a lasting mark on the next generation.

In Christian Partnership, Terry

Having been led to Habitat for Humanity through a family tragedy, Terry has been Executive Director at Our Towns Habitat for Humanity since 2002, serving as ReStore Manager for 19 months prior to that, and engaged as a volunteer since 1996.

Terry serves on the International Global Volunteer Mobilization Committee, Affiliate Enhancement Committee, and Mission Alignment Advisory Group with Habitat for Humanity International, and is also a member of the Subject Experience Team. He also is a member of the Board of Habitat for Humanity of North Carolina.

Originally from Va. Beach, his background includes teaching at SC School for the Deaf and Blind and 20 years in the restaurant business, serving as Director of Operations for all company-owned Pizza Hut restaurants in NC. A graduate of Wofford College in Spartanburg, with a BA in sociology, and many hours in education, history and religion, he is married to M.C., with two grown children and three grandchildren.

Our Towns Habitat for Humanity chosen as medium-sized Affiliate of the Year in 2008, not a cause to celebrate, but a calling to do more.

Terry can be reached at tlaney02@aol.com or www.ourtownshabitat.org

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