Christ, family and athletics are the center features of the life of this week's subject. I've known this young man since he was in school at Ladoga and later on at Southmont. During his high school days, he played football and wrestled on the South team with our son, Jay. Our feature fella' was the president of his class all four years and in National Honor Society. Active then, Brian Saunders remains even more so today.

Brian graduated from Wabash College (Psychology major) where he played intramural sports and was assistant wrestling coach all four years at South with Jamie Welliever. Brian's early work years included over a decade at Raybestos where he was Materials Manager, Caterpillar in Lafayette as a Project Manager and Order Supervisor. During this time, he remained active in softball, which is where he met his true love, Carrie Boswell right on Elston 3 while she was home from IU. He proposed on the same spot on Valentine's Day and they were married Dec. 31, 1995.

While at Caterpillar, the Saunders' began attending Pleasant View Baptist Church and Brian went to Biblical Counseling at Faith Church, Lafayette in 2006. When he returned home, he was certain he had a calling as a church counselor. He and Carrie prayed every night for three years about getting into the ministry. In the meantime, Brian worked on and received his MBA. In 2010, Brian was able to join the staff at Rock Point in Care Counseling and Connecting. Brian summed this up with stating, "God orchestrated all the moves." Although Brian does a lot of marital counseling, he works in all areas and says the highlight is always watching God transform a life. "I have a front row seat!"

Born and raised in Montgomery County, Brian says he can think of no other place to raise his family, as he so loves this community. He and Carrie are the parents of smart, beautiful and sweet children - Cali, Cameron and Christen, and with these three, "Every day is a sporting event." Soccer, swimming, track for Cali; Cam plays baseball, football, basketball and swimming and Brian says that Christen spends most of her time upside down in gymnastics and soccer. Brian is currently coaching baseball but has also been involved in several other coaching gigs, as well.

Carrie was a stay-at-home mom and currently works as a Teacher Assistant at Hose Elementary. Being with their family is important to Carrie and Brian, whether it be hiking at Turkey Run, travelling, watching or playing a sport or working at church in some capacity together. They particularly enjoy Love Week where members go out into the community and paint for someone or rake-up leaves. Mission trips are important to Brian and he and Cali went to Germany to help with an English speaking day care (Vacation Bible School). He has been to the Dominican Republic and Israel where he said it is wonderful to view the Bible come to life.

Other community involvement for Brian includes being a graduate of the first Leadership Academy and past president of the Chamber of Commerce board. I suspicion there are many more aspects to add.

As you probably know, scoliosis is a curvature of the spine and when on Christmas break in Florida, Brian and Carrie noticed Cali's back looked wrong. Upon the return home, it was confirmed Cali had a 27-degree curve. A six-month siege in a brace, followed by a growth spurt showed the curvature had worsened to 48 degrees, six months later adding another ten. Surgery was a necessity at this point. Literally, two surgeons cranked her spine, then set "two titanium rods and 28 screws in place" to hold her back where it should be for life. I remember Facebook was full of prayers (mine included-big time) for Cali. Can you imagine the pain? This little gal and her family's faith carried them through. Stamina certainly held fast, as Cali literally took baby steps to finally return to that soccer field. Today, Cali reflects the strength of those two great parents of hers and has such a joyful attitude. My daughter, Suzie absolutely loves this family, and so admires Cali. Suzie had this to say: Cali is just like her dad - always smiling and has something funny to say. Just like her telling me she "ran" the 2 mile event at the County Meet last week. She laughed about it the whole time and said, "Even while they were passing me, I kept going!" I say, "What a girl!"

Brian was quick to thank his in-laws, Joe and Phyllis Boswell and his "pretty amazing" mom, Marlene, along with other great family members helping him and his family along the way in all aspects of life. Although Brian is smiling almost every time I see him, his whole face brightens when he talks about Carrie. "She's my gift from God, my biggest encourager in our Faith."

As for me, I have always admired Brian, as a boy and as a man. A good soul, he jumps right in to help those in need, and says, "Being Christ-centered is the single-most decision any of us can make." Brian follows that verse in each aspect of his daily life. Not one to desire recognition, I had to literally chase Brian down for an interview, and so I thank him for being this week's ATC subject. You rock, Brian!