Bruce Barlow (pictured), associate pastor at Winona Lake (IN) Grace Brethren Church, was on a plane last February with his son, Trent, enroute to a college visit.
They struck up a conversation over Trent’s high school jacket with a fellow traveler, who turned out to be David Thornton, a six-foot, two-inch 230-pound linebacker with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
The conversation turned to football and faith and Barlow, who is also assistant football coach at Warsaw (IN) High School, saw an opportunity. By the time he and Trent reached the baggage claim area, he had conceived the idea of bringing Thornton to Warsaw to speak to student athletes.
After going through proper procedures with the Colts and with the high school, Warsaw became the first stop on the Colts’ “Make It Personal” tour which resulted in Thornton and Colts’ wide receiver Troy Walters speaking this past Wednesday evening at Warsaw High School.
“I’m here because God had a reason for me to be here,” Thornton told the Warsaw athletes Wednesday night. He and Walters spoke to the athletes, parents and teachers about hard work, leadership and faith.
Thornton discussed what it takes to be not only a good football player, but also a good person.
“Faith is the cornerstone of who we are,” he said. “The motto for the Colts is ‘Make it Personal’ and God wants you to make it personal with him, too,” he said.
Warsaw head coach Troy Akers said, ”With all the negative talk about professional athletes, to have two guys come and speak like we did today with David and Troy is an amazing thing.”
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