Thursday, October 16, 2014

Celebration for Big Oak Ranch!

I Love You ~ I'll Never Lie to You ~ I'll Stick with you until You're Grown ~ 
There are boundaries; Don't Cross Them

These are the promises that children needing a chance receive upon arriving at Big Oak Ranch.

Lighting and Lamp was delighted to be a part of the celebration and excitement September 27, 2014 as Big Oak Ranch celebrated 40 years of meeting the needs of over 2,000 children. Since 1974, John Croyle and his wife, Tee, along with the Big Oak Ranch staff and many volunteers work together by providing children who deserve to know they are loved, a solid Christian home and a chance to fulfill God's plan for their lives. Lighting and Lamp's Patsy and Jim Burks consider it a blessing to have been involved with Big Oak Ranch for many years. One of their many contributions was providing a transitional home at the Boy's Ranch for the high school graduates to live in while attending college or beginning a job. 

John and Tee have seen their dream of building the best children's home in America grow into three separate facilities in Northeast Alabama: Big Oak Boy's Ranch in Gadsden, Big Oak Girl's Ranch in Springville, and Westbrook Christian School, Inc. in Rainbow City.

The Boys' Ranch is located on 143 acres and includes nine residential homes, a transitional apartment home, gymnasium, equine center and swimming pool. The Girls' Ranch, 325 acres, includes eight residential homes, a transitional apartment home, gymnasium, equine center and swimming pool. 

Acquired in 1990, Westbrook Christian School provides a quality education in a Christian environment for the children of Big Oak Ranch, as well as children from the community. Westbrook Christian School uses the Christian environment to meet the needs of the whole child - academically, spiritually, emotionally, creatively, and physically.

On the 40th anniversary, John Croyle announced he is beginning to turn the operation over to his children, Brodie Croyle and Reagan Croyle Phillips. They have been gradually taking over leadership. Brodie, former Alabama and NFL quarterback, now serves as associate executive director. Reagan, who played basketball at Alabama and was homecoming queen, joined the staff as childcare team director. 

John Croyle is quick to admit he is not retiring, his role will simply be slowly changing. "We'll continue to be faithful to what God has called us to do." Brodie said. 

"A hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of house we lived in, the kind of car we drove, or how much money we had in the bank, but the world may be different because  you and I were important in the life of a child." ~ John Croyle

The "cornerstone" and even the name of Big Oak Ranch, has remained fundamentally rooted in Isaiah 61:3. "And they shall be called Oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He may be glorified."

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