Community Voices

Friends and Neighbors: Prayer Breakfast an honored tradition

I love it that some good things never change. And one thing in particular that hasn’t changed in more than four decades is the annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes/Orange Bowl Prayer Breakfast.

At 7:30 a.m. Dec. 29, the organization will have its 44th annual breakfast at Jungle Island in the Treetop Ballroom. Coach Frank Hall, who is considered a national hero, will be the guest speaker.

According to Larry Gautier, an Orange Bowl Committee member and one of the breakfast’s organizers, Hall had dreamed of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a member of the Cleveland Browns football team since he was a youngster. “But he never could have imagined the scenario that actually landed him there,” Gautier said.

Indeed, Hall’s road to the cover of the popular sports magazine was a bumpy one, to say the least. In 2012, Hall served as a study hall teacher and assistant football coach at a high school in northeastern Ohio. He’d joined the staff in 2008, after he had been passed over for a head coaching job at another school. It seemed that his dream was never going to become a reality, but Hall never gave up.

Then on a cold February morning, Hall’s “... fatherly instincts of protection and love were displayed for all to see, when a student armed with a semiautomatic gun opened fire on classmates in the school cafeteria where Hall was monitoring study hall.”

At first Hall thought the sounds he heard were firecrackers. But he saw the gunman and chased him out of the building. Hall went back to the cafeteria to comfort and pray for the victims; some were hanging on to life. That day, three students died and several others were injured. But countless others lived because they were protected by Hall.

In June of 2013, Hall’s dream of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated came true, although not in the way he had hoped. The magazine featured him in a article entitled, “A Coach’s Courage.” Later that year, Hall left the high school where the shooting happened and became the head coach at Lakeside High School in his hometown of Ashtabula, Ohio.

Hall doesn’t consider himself a hero, “... just a simple man from small-town America,” he will tell you.

A lot of other people throughout America would disagree. In February, CBS’s 60 Minutes profiled Hall and his heroic experience.

Hall and his wife Ashley, and their six sons, live in Jefferson, Ohio.

Sharing the program with Hall at the breakfast will be Michael Barrow, who will share his testimony of what the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meant to him when he was a student-athlete.

Some of you may recognize Barrow’s name. He played for the University of Miami Hurricanes from 1989-92. In the same year, he earned All-American honors, was a runner-up to the Butkus Award and finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting.

Barrow was also the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and finished his career at UM as the third-leading tackler in the school’s history. After graduating from UM, he went on to play 13 seasons in the NFL, having been a second-round draft choice of the Houston Oilers in 1993.

In addition to the Oilers, Barrow also played for the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. After retiring from professional football, he served as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Homestead High School, his alma mater, during the 2006 season.

Barrow, an ordained minister, was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He and his wife, Shelley, are the parents of three children.

Tickets to the breakfast are $30 each. Tables are available for $500 and $1,500 each. For tickets and more information log on to:

New appointments

Congratulations to the new appointments to the executive committee and board of directors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade. The appointments were announced at the board dinner and awards ceremony held in November at the Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne.

The new appointees to the executive committee are: Cesar L. Alvarez and David S. Plummer. Those appointed to the club’s board of directors are: Judge Michael A. Genden, Ruth Jimenez, and Steven D. Lear.

Also, Jeff Urgelles, Miami Marlins bullpen coordinator, was presented with Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s From the Heart Award.

‘Kabbalah and Science’

You are invited to hear Rabbi Sholom Dovber Lipskar at 7 p.m. Monday, as he shares his insights on “Kabbalah and Science” at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach.

According to Lipskar, for many people the word Kabbalah conjures images of magic or mysticism. But the rabbi said the ancient beliefs and practices blend with the facts and methods of science, “... helping us learn more about both the origins of the universe and the future.”

The rabbi’s is a member of the Chabad Lubavitch movement and is the main organizer of the biennial Miami International Torah and Science Conference. He also is the founder of several Jewish institutions in South Florida, including the Aleph Institute. which reaches out to Jews in the military or who are incarcerated.

His lecture is a part of the museum’s “Mondays at the Museum” series.

All Monday events are $10 for the public, $5 for museum members and free for students with ID. For tickets or information, email the museum at:, or call 786-972-3175.

Bridging classics

Don’t forget the concert, “2014 Bridging Classics of the Past with Classics of the Future” to be at 4 p.m. today, Dec. 14, at the Church of the Incarnation, 1835 NW 54th St.

The concert is presented by The Historic Hampton House Community Trust, Inc., and will feature guest artist Nicole Yarling, a jazz vocalist and violinist.

Also featured will be the 2014 Community Mass Choir and Orchestra, and the Florida Memorial University Chamber Ensemble and Ambassador Chorale. Dr. Nelson Hall is the conductor and Cynthia “Chelle” Reed, is the concert master.

And, it’s free!

Symphonic Band

The concert presented by the Greater Miami Symphonic Band will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Gusman Hall, 1314 Miller Dr. on the University of Miami campus.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and children over 5. Tickets may be purchased at the box office the day of the concert.

For more information go to the band’s website:

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.