A best friend of mine, whom I consider a brother, was driving home from his job to his passion. His name is Tim Nelson, but you may know him as Nelly or Coach Nelson. On the drive, he began to bleed profusely. Nelly just left his job at Thomson Rueters and was headed to practice at Dupo High School when the bleeding began. Not knowing what to do, Nelly called his assistant coach and asked him to run practice.
Coach Nelson was rushed to the emergency room at Alton Memorial and later moved to Barnes Jewish. To make this long, grueling, prayer-filled story short, after several days in the hospital and many tests, our friend was sent home with some tough news. Colon cancer.
Just like his style of football, it was time to formulate a game plan and ground and pound this formidable foe. His friends started a clothing campaign, helping the family defray costs but more importantly, show love and support. With uniforms donned, the Nellystrong team was born. Without the contributions of blood donors that he did not even know, Coach Nelson would not have seen another football season. With this thought, Nellystrong has teamed up with Pride Fitness, Cornerstone Church and Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center for the Nellystrong blood drive. This drive is to honor those that gave the gift of life for Tim, and a reminder that donating can help to save your brother, best friend, coach, mentor, newlywed, etc.
PRiDE Fitness NELLYSTRONG
2-7 p.m. Jan. 11, Cornerstone Church Gymnasium, Bethalto, IL 62010
On Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, there was an incident at the Alton City Cemetery that shook me to my core. A man was pinned between the rear of a semi-truck and the back of a pickup truck. The impact was so forceful that I had to turn my back, fearing that this man’s body had been severed. The force was such that the man’s body bent the cast iron steps used to access the back of the semi completely underneath the truck.
The next thing that I remember was two women holding this man in a standing position, one under each arm. I immediately began to pray for God’s mercy and protection of the gentleman. An ambulance soon arrived and transported him to the hospital. This all occurred between 9 a.m. and 9:40 a.m.
At 12:5 p.m. the organizer of the event that we had assembled at the cemetery for called me to tell me that the gentleman had been thoroughly checked at the hospital and released without serious injury. I was elated and realized that I had not just witnessed an incident, but a miracle of God. My elation quickly turned to despondence as I related what happened to others throughout the day. No one recognized God for His actions in saving this man’s life.
The next day at the Wreaths Across America ceremony, I had the opportunity to embrace and shake Mr. (Don) Huber’s hand. He told me that he heard me praying during his ordeal and believes that it played a great part in his only attaining minor injuries. However, statements in a newspaper article attributed the lack of significant injury to being pushed into a hole and the wearing of a down jacket.
My reason I’m writing this letter is this: this great country of ours was built upon Godly principles that have eroded to the point of spiritual malfeasance. We often wonder why our nation is in such pitiful shape. We as a nation need to wake up and recognize God for who He is because only He can restore this nation to what it once was. President Obama couldn’t do it, and Donald Trump can’t do it. Only God can and He doesn’t have a history of restoring nations that don’t recognize Him. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, one of our greatest statesmen and forefathers: “I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men.”
Robert Jackson III