For those of us living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on April 27, 2011, one of the first "faces of the storm" was Carson Tinker, the long snapper for the University of Alabama Football Team. Carson was hospitalized with injuries from the storm but the most devastating thing for Carson was that his girlfriend did not survive. If you don't know this story, you can listen HERE to an interview with Rick Karle on myfoxal.com.
Beyond the story of the storm is the story of this "specialist" (those skilled in kicking, punting and long snapping) and how he has responded to this tragic time in his life. Some time back, when I signed up for Twitter, I started following Carson because his name popped up one day as a suggestion to follow. I am SO glad that I did. He has thousands of followers and what a testimony he shares even through his tweets!! Through reading messages that he has tweeted, I have seen him encourage fellow teammates, retweet young girls in a church group who needed a retweet for a scavenger hunt, support the gymnastics, softball, basketball and baseball teams, and wish people a happy birthday. He encouraged voters before and after the election. He often tweets positive quotes and displays a great sense of humor! He thanks fans for their support, even posting photos of fans greeting the team at the airport when they arrived home after a game. He retweets messages sent to him, making those people feel special and important - he even retweeted the above picture with Elle and Annie that I shared with him, taken at the Nick's Kids Luncheon in the summer. Those are just the things I remember!
Carson shared his testimony at my church. I think everyone expected him to share his "story" - he chose, instead, to offer words of encouragement, sharing scripture that has helped him. I wish I could remember the scriptures he shared. It was a simple message of hope and an inspiration because of the path he has chosen. With life dealt him a difficult hand, he chose to play the game with amazing strength.
And NOW he is helping to build a home for a woman named Jackie. As part of the University of Alabama Business School, in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity and Calvary Baptist Church, students, faculty and staff are working together to raise funds and to actually build this home in time to get Ms. Jackie home for Christmas! Many donors have been inspired to donate because of the enthusiasm of Carson Tinker, I am sure. To find out more about this project or to donate to this worthy cause click HERE
God has really blessed this young man and he is using him to bless others! He is a football "specialist" by position but he is an "encouragement specialist" by heart and by the grace of God!
"For I knows the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."