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My Turn: A special night for some special people

Whisenant

Jtan Whisenant

Jtan Whisenant

First Baptist's Mike Burnette, wearing a festive plaid kilt, was the inspiration for a new church ministry to reach out to those with special needs.

First Baptist’s Mike Burnette, wearing a festive plaid kilt, was the inspiration for a new church ministry to reach out to those with special needs.

By Jtan Whisenant

On Feb. 12, First Baptist Church and our Access Ministry team were blessed to be able to host a Tim Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine prom. We were one of 200 events held worldwide for individuals with special needs.

Our team began planning for this event in August. We fervently prayed that God would use this to bless our community. He answered our prayers in a big way.

Members of our church and the community stepped up to make this a night to remember. Trolley drivers delivered our guests in style. Cheerwine, Chick-fil-A, Mike and Paula’s, Krispy Kreme, Father and Sons Produce, Coyote Trail Cakes, Subway, Cold Stone, Sweet Frog, Harris Teeter and Food Lion provided delicious treats for those in attendance.

Members of First Baptist baked in excess of 30 dozen brownies and cookies. The Salisbury Fire Department, decked out in their dress uniforms, escorted guests down the red carpet. They also staffed our first aid station in case any medical issues arose.

The North Carolina Transportation Museum provided the stanchions to give our red carpet a regal flair. Quality Clothing provided racks and hangers to take care of our guests’ coats. Rowan County sheriff’s deputies made sure we all stayed safe while dancing the night away. Pam Morris, owner of The Pink Peony, helped us make sure each guest had a beautiful corsage or boutonniere.

Several area hairdressers and makeup artists used their skills to enhance the inner beauty of the ladies before they hit the red carpet. We were blessed to have Kim Lance, April Lambert, Bill Yost, Jenny Tenney and Lindsay McManus there to photograph every phase of the evening. Nick Anderson of Ason Media Group provided video documentation. Ted Oglesby, DJ extraordinaire, kept us moving and grooving. “Mailvis,” aka Michael Thomas, serenaded guests and caregivers.

Glen Yost awed the caregivers with his magic. Local massage therapists pampered caregivers with chair massages. Each caregiver was given a car wash coupon provided by Glenn Allen of Sam’s Car Wash.

So many individuals volunteered to be a buddy for the evening and helped to make each participant feel special. Our church family was involved in every step. Kim Edds assembled a crew to decorate every area of our campus that was used for the event. April Chandler and her team made sure everyone had plenty of delicious treats to enjoy. Our pastor, Dr. Kenneth Lance, has been our biggest cheerleader as we planned this event. Our entire ministerial team and church staff were there to help make sure every detail was in place.

As you can see, many hands were needed to make this event a night that our guests would remember for a long time. We also wanted it to be a night where they felt that they were extraordinary individuals created in God’s image and loved by God’s people. I wish you all could have seen the joy on their faces.

Feb. 12, 2016, was a night where all in attendance experienced the “abundant life” promised in God’s word. We are thankful that God was present at the “Night to Shine.”

Jtan Whisenant leads the Access Ministry team at First Baptist Church.

“My Turn” submissions should be 500-700 words. Send to elizabeth.cook@salisburypost.com with “My Turn” in the subject line. Include name, address, phone number and, if possible, a digital photo of yourself.

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