Fall ban­quet

Darryl Strawberry speaks at FCA benefit

Former MLB stand­outnow an or­dained min­is­ter

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Former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry speaks at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) fundraiser on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at Kill Devil Hills.

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By Craig Moyer
Sports Writer

Thursday, October 19, 2017

KILL DEVIL HILLS — Darryl Strawberry spoke to a crowd of around 200 people at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes benefit at Ramada Plaza in Kill Devil Hills Tuesday night.

FCA is the largest Christian sports ministry in the country and has focused on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ since 1954.

Tuesday’s event was held to raise funding for the local FCA chapter, which serves Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Pasquotank, and Perquimans counties.

Strawberry, 55,  spent 17 years as a right fielder in Major League Baseball, primarily for the New York Yankees and New York Mets.

The Los Angeles native won National League Rookie of the Year in 1983 and went on to record 335 home runs, 1,000 runs batted in, four World Series rings and eight All Star game appearances.

Despite Strawberry’s illustrious career in the major leagues, his life off the field was plagued with jail time, addictions, divorce and abuse.

Strawberry admitted he was lost and tormented, but is now found and free in Jesus, as he founded Strawberry Ministries in 2011 to share the experience of saving and transforming power.

At Tuesday’s event, Strawberry told his life story as a way to stress the importance of FCA in helping set the path for lives of children and young adults through worship.

Strawberry spoke with The Daily Advance after the even about the importance of FCA’s mission.

“We are living in a time where our young people need hope, and the hope is what FCA is doing,” Strawberry said. “Spreading the love of Jesus so kids can be saved from drugs, losing their life and everything else.”

The event was put together by Area FCA Director Scott Williams, as well as his wife Lori Williams, who is the FCA’s Director of Operations in the region.

Scott Williams has been the director of the FCA in northeast North Carolina for eight years.

Williams spoke with The Daily Advance after the banquet about what it meant to have Strawberry share his story with the crowd.

“We are tremendously blessed to have a guy like Darryl Strawberry come into our area,” Williams said. “Having him get up and talk about what he has been through and what he has done to overcome is just phenomenal.”

Williams added that 100 percent of their funding comes from donations by the community, which is why their support is so vital.

FCA holds camps and events throughout the year that would not be possible without donations from the communities.

The last camp held by FCA in the mountains of North Carolina brought 122 athletes and coaches from around the area.

The average weekly attendance of FCA meetings held before and after school around the area is 484, a number Williams hopes will continue to grow.

Williams said he hoped the event encouraged those in attendance to become a part of a great team that is making a big difference in the region.

Both Strawberry and Williams continuously stressed the importance of reaching children at a young age to set them on the right path in life early.

“If you can reach kids at an early age, you give them a better direction and a lot of hope,” Strawberry said.

Williams added, “The earlier you can get to kids, encourage them and give them that path of life, hopefully you will avoid a lot of the issues and heartaches that will come down the road.”

With 24 tables at the event, Williams was hoping to reach a $1,000 donation from each table of eight guests, which would just be a $10 commitment per person per month.

Strawberry finished by saying that while FCA is a great way to combine the love of sports and the following of Christ, life is much more significant.

“Life is more important than sports, sports is just a game, somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose, you only get one shot in life,” he said.