October 2014

I wanted to share a letter with you I received recently, from a young man I have not seen since he was a teenager:

“Mr. McNair, I’ve been thinking about you more frequently over the past year. I wanted to thank you for being such a positive male role model in my life. You were a man I looked up to, respected, and trusted (and still do). You always pushed me to be better, think before I made decisions, and kept me out of trouble. I know I was a handful at times, but you never gave up on me. I remember one time at camp, one of the boys was always picking on me, and you made me stand up to him in front of the other boys. Even though I was scared I did it because I knew you were there and you wouldn’t let any harm come to me. That day changed my life. I never took up physical fighting, but I learned how to fight back in life mentally and spiritually. To not accept my circumstances or the bullying that life throws at us. Thank you for giving me a ton of childhood experiences I love to revisit and share with others. Our trips to Chicago, basketball teams, excursions around town, camping trips, bike trips, etc. As a less fortunate inner city kid, you caused me to think outside my circum-stances and helped me discover another world out there to explore.

I wanted you to know I have expanded on those experiences. In 2012, I completed my masters degree in international business and studied abroad in India and Singapore for a semester. I’ve travelled the world, helping orphanages in Africa. One of my biggest accomplishments in life is the fact that I’ve set foot on every continent except Antarctica before the age of 30. You had a big hand in that milestone in my life, because you taught me to believe in myself. Your time, personal sacrifices, love, and direction gave me vision and a self confidence I still draw from today. If you’ve ever doubted your purpose in life, please know you made a huge difference and impact on my life. I’m grateful and appreciative for everything you did for me. As I embark on fatherhood, I smile at the opportunity to give my son what you so freely gave me, a chance to just be a kid and to have fun! It’s simple but I promise you it has molded me into someone I’m proud to be. Not having a father in my life, I made a decision a long time ago that I was lucky because I could choose the best aspects of a father in all the men I encountered over my childhood and adulthood. Please know you were a benchmark and at the foundation of what I considered to be a father, I’m blessed to have known you. Thank you Chris and please don’t stop being that light for other young men and women. We need you more than you know! Take care and give my best to Lisa and your children. “

The time we all spend with our young people matters. Thank you for your gifts and prayers to the end that we may continue to lift up the Light to children and families here.

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