“During my junior high school years I was given the chance of participating in the football program or leaving school for disciplinary reasons. Not only did the football program keep me in school but it taught me valuable lessons in teamwork, pride, self-discipline and accomplishment that played key roles in my college and pro careers.
The young men of Barrow have a very rich and unique heritage of teamwork and are appropriately named the Whalers. The addition of a much needed football program in Barrow will positively impact many young men’s lives…just as it did mine.”
Pro Football Hall of Fame
“In sports and in life, you learn to overcome great losses. I have learned to play together as a team, to work towards a common goal and to be able to accept defeat as well as to win with pride. My hope is to be able to help kids understand the life benefits of playing sports. My goal is to make it happen.”
” No one can believe it, Cathy. All of his teammates keep looking at me, shaking their heads & smiling. It is the most amazing turnaround I think any of us have ever seen. I will never doubt the influence of sports again–ever. ”
Jonathan Langley’s Teacher
“You’re angels sent from above and we could not thank you enough for all that you do for us. I believe faith is how we got connected and faith will keep us bonded. Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts at the WAAA.”
West Augustine Athletic Assoc(WAAA)
St. Augustine, Florida
“Our forefathers and ancestors, the Inupiat of yesterday knew a sound mind and a healthy body meant survival in our severe arctic conditions. What you see here today, is not just a football field…it is a field of dreams for our youth and children to inspire them to build character. It is a dream that one day will nourish and inspire greatness in our children.”
President, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation
“You would be hard pressed to find many successful businessmen who would not attribute where they are today to their high school athletic experiences. In my case, the lessons I learned playing high school football played a more crucial role in my career than the lessons I learned in the classroom.”
Vice President, Modis
“You can change lives using athletics as a tool, Ordinary people can accomplish great things.”
President, Athletes to Champions
“Today, this moment, we have in place a football field for our youth and community members as a whole to assist in combating the many social ills that attack, destroy and kill the character of a sound mind and body of a person.”
Project Manager, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation
“Words fail me, I don’t even know how to say thank you to people who would do such a thing. It’s amazing.”
Superintendent, North Slope Borough School District
“Cathy and Carl Parker have been a wonderful source of inspiration and guidance to our Power Cross organization. We feel blessed the God had put them in our path. We know that the future will hold many wonderful opportunities for Athletes to Champions to reach out in the future.”
Jeff and Natalie Storment
Power Cross Founders, Statesville, NC.
Kevin Griffis By Laurie Hall
As I rounded the corner in one of my favorite Christian book stores, my feet suddenly stopped. My eyes had fallen and locked onto a picture that took my breath away. I had heard and read the story many times, but seeing the artist’s rendering of the moment made the realization of the act capture my soul. The picture was a simple painting with earthen colors of our Lord Jesus Christ washing the dust-covered feet of His disciple. Our King on His knees, washing feet! Jesus came from His heavenly kingdom to dwell among us and to serve, never finding a task that He deemed too lowly for him to perform. My eyes brimmed with tears as I stared at the picture and thanked Him for allowing me to be one of His. How many opportunities have I missed to serve as I unravel myself into my busy little world?
I know we shouldn’t have favorites, but as I think of some of my favorite people in the world and look for a thread of commonality, I think that thread might be a servant’s heart. I have been blessed to meet a precious few people on this earth who seemed to have claimed serving others as their life passion. One of those people was Mr. Kevin Griffis.
On August 6th, 2009, the residents of heaven rejoiced to welcome Kevin as their newest citizen. Kevin was the husband of Athletes To Champions former board member, Vicki Griffis. In April of 2009, Kevin was diagnosed with cancer. He battled courageously with his wife by his side and while Vicki read scripture to him with their two sons nearby, Kevin went to be with his Lord. As the minister stressed at Kevin’s funeral, he finished well. As his friend, I would say, he lived his whole life well. He was one of those servants of whom I stand in awe. Just as Jesus never found a task He was unwilling to do, Kevin spent his life serving others. He worked hard all of his life. He gave of his time as a coach for every sport imaginable. He volunteered in his church, in his neighborhood, in his community and in the local schools. He gave of himself unselfishly as a husband, a father, a brother and a friend. As evidenced by the hundreds in attendance at his funeral, coming from as far away as Barrow, Alaska, he was loved by many. The web-site which chronicled Kevin’s illness, literally had thousands of visitors.
The day Kevin died, he received a phone call from Coach Bobby Bowden. Kevin played football at Florida State University in the 1980’s under the legendary coach. Coach Bowden had learned about Kevin’s illness and took the time from his busy schedule to show his concern. He realized the pillar of a man that Kevin Griffis was and never forgot him, even after all these years. I had the privilege of being with Kevin less than an hour before he passed away. In my last moments with him, I talked with him about receiving a crown in heaven. I reminded him to be sure to ask for it in garnet and gold, the team colors of his precious Seminoles. He assured me that he would.
Athletes To Champions wishes to pay homage to Kevin. We love him for the man he was and rejoice that he is with his eternal father. We embrace Vicki and her children and all of their family and pray for their hearts to be comforted and strengthened. We pledge to honor Kevin through continuing our work in reaching out to people in need. When the Lord brings a man of faith home, we look to raise another one up. May the memory of Kevin’s servant heart live on in the work that we do with youth in our community and in other parts of our country. We will miss you Kevin!!