Soldiers from 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade held a prayer breakfast at the brigade’s dining facility April 30.
Lt. Col. Timothy Atkinson, the brigade chaplain, and brigade chaplain assistant, Sgt. Harold Brown, coordinated the event which is normally held once a month. The morning events consisted of breakfast, the playing of the national anthem, invocation, musical selections and remarks from the guest speaker.
Former Major League Baseball players Anthony Telford and Bryan Hickerson. Telford spoke to the members of 108th ADA Brigade about his baseball career and what inspired him to share his life and spiritual faith with servicemembers across the globe.
“We don’t normally have the opportunity to have pro athletes come and speak to the Soldiers; so when the Corp Unit Ministry Team contacted us asking if we were interested in having Mr. Telford and Mr. Hickerson attendance our prayer breakfast, we gladly said yes,” said Brown.
After entering the big leagues at the age of 24 in 1990, Telford played nine seasons of baseball. He played for the Baltimore Orioles from 1990 to 1993, Montreal Expos 1997 to 2001 and Texas Rangers in 2002. Prior to playing professional baseball, Telford also played in the minor leagues. Telford relocated 42 times during his baseball career and underwent several surgeries for injuries suffered. During those trying times, Telford said he relied heavily on his faith and religion to help him persevere.
He was inspired by long time friend, Bryan Hickerson who played a total of five seasons during his major league career. Hickerson played for the San Francisco Giants from 1991 to 1994, Chicago Cubs in 1995 and Colorado Rockies in 1995. He is active in baseball ministry which had a huge impact on him during his MLB career.
“Eighty-five percent of MLB player are bankrupt, divorced or both within two years of retiring or leaving the league. Faith and values are what aided me throughout life,” said Hickerson.
Telford has volunteered to speak to Soldiers for nearly a decade. He has been to Iraq,
“Almost 10 years ago Bryan asked me to speak to Soldiers at Fort Bragg. Bryan’s faith also encouraged me to share my journey with troops. I realize that Soldiers endure some of the same struggles as I; from life-style to traveling to various locations,” said Telford.
He said he believes that maintaining faith helped him keep his life priorities in line by putting faith first, Family second and career third.
“As spiritual leaders, we used Mr. Telford and Mr. Hickerson to aid us with influencing and promoting the message of faith,” said Brown.