A New Beginning With Faith- Security Guard Gets Baptized At Madison Academy
MADISON- A new beginning has greeted 22-year old Jeff McKendall. As one of three security guards at Madison Academy School and a beloved smiling face on campus, McKendall recently made a much-needed change in his life by being baptized in the creek that meanders through the back acreage of the private school located on the eastern border of Madison.
“The baptism gave me a spirituality that felt like I opened doors in my life I once shied away from,” said McKendall. “I felt a rush of spirit that moved me to where I needed to be.”
Hired by Hedge Security Company, McKendall, with 18 months of experience in security, joined the Madison Academy family at the start of the school year. He has extensive firearms and security training and is licensed to handle any security situation should one arise at the K-12 facility. He carries a Sig Sauer p320 9mm handgun while on duty at the school.
Born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., located in the northwest quadrant of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area, McKendall attended Campbell High School where he played football as an outside linebacker and wrestled in the 170-pound weight class for the Spartans wrestling team. A rotator cuff injury caused him to sit out his senior season, but did receive an offer to play for Tennessee Valley Prep Sports Academy in Huntsville. He played two seasons and helped win two region championships with the school designed as a post-graduate program that gives students a second chance at earning a college scholarship. He made his way to the North Alabama area with his mother, sister and his daughter, who is now three years old.
“Once here at Madison Academy, I saw all of the students and facility really in depth with God,” said McKendall. “I grew up in church and was a Jr. Deacon at one point, but I lost my way with God when I turned 17. Here at the school, I saw I wanted to be back with God. I wanted to turn my life around to be a better man, a better father for my daughter. I didn’t pray nor read my Bible, but now I do.”
McKendall seem to feel the Spirit of Christ as he attended large gatherings at the school chapel and at baptisms and said God spoke to him while he witnessed all of those spiritual moments. He began studying the Bible with Upper School Principal Brian Privett, a longtime coach and administrator at the school. He soon made his life-changing decision and asked Privett if he would do the honor of baptizing McKendall on the school property.
“I asked for him. Once baptized, I was overjoyed and became tearful as I felt reborn,” said McKendall, of the event held under sunny skies and warm temperatures on Sunday, Sept. 3.
“In a school setting, we are so focused on the students, while in a situation like this, you realize God draws to himself who He desires,” said Privett. “It is the culture of Madison Academy and the influence of seeing students give their life to Christ that impacted Jeff. He is a humble young man who is bravely stepping out and saying I want to do life different.”
Ken Cherry, senior starting running back for the Mustangs’ football team, attended the event and said he knows the students moved McKendall to get baptized. He added, “I wanted to show my support for him especially knowing he has a football background. At the baptism we prayed together and took photos. It was a blessed time, and since then, I’ve noticed Jeff’s demeanor is more positive and he smiles a lot.”
“All of the problems that I stressed over and used to get angered by, I have let go as my days are better,” said McKendall. “There is a brightness God has shared on my life. I now attend The Light Church at Madison Academy. I know I’m there at the school to protect the students and staff, but in reality, it was all of them who saved my life, made me a better person and I now feel fulfilled with Christ with a new beginning in my life.”