Red Bank football coach impacting lives
From leading his team on the football field, to living out his faith, those who know Red Bank High School Football Coach Edward Slaugher say he is the definition of a mentor.
Coach Slaughter organizes an annual trip to Honduras, giving local students an opportunity to work at an orphanage there, and it's not just the children's lives that are affected.
"Christ tells us we should go and make disciples of all nations and that's one of the things we're doing when we go on this trip. Just trying to listen to the big man and go and do and serve," Coach Slaughter said.
In three weeks, Coach Slaughter and a group of students representing eight schools from around the Tennessee Valley will make their way to the orphanage.
He continues "I think that's our job is to be mentors for them and I think this trip a unique experience. You can see some things that you don't get to see here."
From some students, like Red Bank Junior Gabe Smith, this will be a new experience.
"I think it'll change me because I will realize what I have to the other kids that don't have as much as I do. I'll feel more grateful for the things I do have," Smith said.
For others, it's a place they now feel drawn to serve.
"Once you get to the orphanage, it's just like a sense of happiness just hits you. You feel like you're at home again," said Red Bank Junior Myles Smith who is going for a second time.
"I was kinda skeptical about giving up my Christmas with my family, but I just decided it was the right thing to do and I ended up getting baptized on Christmas Day," added Red Bank Junior Trevor Skiles.
The local group will spend a week at Orphanage Emmanuel, home to about 600 children. It's an experience they say has brought them a new meaning on life.
"It'll really shake you to your core and really make you evaluate some things about yourself and about your faith," said Coach Slaughter.
"I took a lot of things for granted, before I went on this trip. And mainly driving through the town to get to the orphanage really put things into perspective for me, Skiles added.
And the lives that are changed the most, may not even be at the orphanage.
"It's kinda funny because we're going there to serve them, but every year we go they always end up doing more for us than we could ever do for them," said Smith.
A total of 16 students ranging from 8th grade to college will leave next month for Honduras. The trip is funded through Chattanooga FCA, and other local churches.
Coach Slaughter says for now, they're only taking one trip a year, but he hopes to up that number in the coming years.