I'll never forget where I was when I heard of Ed's passing, it stopped me in my tracks and hit me straight to the heart. I wasn't sure why at the time, but everything I read and heard through the media struck me hard emotionally. I didn't know Christ yet at the time...but it wouldn't be long. I lived 40 miles away and barely knew Ed personally. I played against his 1993 state title team and later took a "Theory in Coaching" class that he tought in 1996 to become a coach myself. All I can remember is loving to hear him speak in class. At the end of each session I always left wanting to hear more and couldn't wait to get back to the next one. I also used to bring softball teams that I coached to A-P for tournaments and just remember him as one of the friendliest people I ever came accross while coaching.
Here is the process of how I came to know Christ. At the time of Ed's death my family and I had been in the process of looking to move for a couple years and things never worked out for one reason or another. We had never even considered Parkersburg until this happened, but for some reason I began to feel my heart pointing us towards Parkersburg at that time. So in June of 2010 we began the process of looking to move to Parkersburg and within two months my wife and two boys found ourselves living here. What a blessing it was from God for everything to work out so quickly and for us to get here just a week before our oldest son started his first year of pre-school.
Faith was a very small part of my life before moving here and I now realize that I had my priorities out of order for the first 36 years of my life. Before moving here I found my Bible in a box above my garage. We all know that faith was at the top of Ed's list, as for me I'd have to say it was near the bottom at the time. I began attending the First Congregational Church (Ed's former church) of Parkersburg shortly after moving here and have recently accepted Christ into my life. To me, there is no greater feeling than to be walking with Christ. I now feel like I've got my priorities in line and it's like a huge ton of bricks have been lifted from my shoulders since accepting Christ. One of my favorite things to do now is attending church and being around my church family.
Moving to Parkersburg has been a blessing beyond description for our family. We are so thankful for so many things. It has definatley been a life-changing experience for the better. I've never been around a more friendly community than Parkersburg. They have welcomed us with open arms and we've developed some great relationships with a lot of them. In a way I feel like I have to thank Ed for that, he built and shaped this community over the years to what it is today through his faith.
I unfortunately never had the opportunity to play for Ed, but Lord willing my boys will get the chance to play for Ed's sons someday who now coach here and I consider that the next best thing. I spent eleven years coaching before moving here and consider it an honor and great blessing to now be coaching at A-P myself, there is no other place I'd rather be!
I would also like to take this time to applaude the Thomas' family for their efforts to keep Ed's spirit alive through the foundation and other events. There is no question it helped make a difference in my life and I'm sure it has for many others as well. I've never been much of a reader, but when I started reading the Sacred Acre, I couldn't put it down.
To anyone out there reading this that hasn't accepted Christ yet, I encourage you to do so. Trust me when I say that it will be the best decision you could ever make. I've now come to learn that the Lord works in mysterious ways sometimes. There is no doubt that the Lord used Ed's story as a way to speak to me and to get my attention by saying that I needed to make some changes in my life. I'm glad I listened.