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Darrell Huckaby - Chappy's coming to Salem

I don't like people telling me what I need to do. Never have. Therefore, I try real hard not to tell other people what they need to do - usually. Today, however, I will make an exception to my own rule.

If you are a young person, you need to be under the tabernacle at Salem Camp Ground on Salem Road near Covington on Saturday afternoon at 1 o'clock. If you know any young people, you need to do anything and everything in your power to have them under the tabernacle at Salem Camp Ground on Saturday afternoon at 1 o'clock.

If you used to be a young person - even if it was a long, long time ago - it wouldn't hurt for you to be under the tabernacle at Salem Camp Ground on Saturday afternoon at 1 o'clock, either.

Why, you might ask? For the music? For the singing? For the preaching? For the old-fashioned, down-home fellowship?

All of these are and have always been good reasons to visit Salem during camp meeting. But they are not the reasons I am so insistent on your presence Saturday.

Saturday, you see, Chappy's coming to Salem, and he will be delivering a message that is geared toward young people, but take it from me - when Chappy talks, what he has to say is worth hearing, even if you are 19, like my son Jackson Lee, or haven't been 19 for a long, long time - like me.

Chappy, you see, (whose given name, by the way, is Kevin Hynes) is the chaplain for the University of Georgia football team. Now, if you are a Yellow Jacket or a Tiger or an Eagle or of some other collegiate allegiance, don't get your boxers in a bunch and vow to stay away. Kevin Hynes may get paid through his connections to the University of Georgia, but the one he really works for is Jesus Christ, and I can assure you, when Chappy starts talking about the life-altering influence of Jesus Christ, it doesn't matter what color clothes you wear on Saturday afternoon. That message transcends collegiate loyalty.

Can I get an "Amen?"

Well, let me tell you a little about this guy.

He wears a lot of hats, and throughout his life, he has worn even more. He is a former Marine - if you can ever really be a "former" Marine - and a former biker - if you can ever be a "former" biker - so many of the hats he once wore were actually helmets, I suppose. He is also an ordained minister and is married to Bulldog head coach Mark Richt's sister, Mikki.

But he still had to apply for and earn the chaplain's job.

When Chappy arrived in Athens in 2001, there were three groups at UGA attempting to do virtually the same job. He set out to coordinate and unify Athletes in Action, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Georgia Athletes Outreach, and now those three groups work together to serve Georgia students.

And Chappy works overtime in his efforts to support the needs of Georgia athletes - and students in general - and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. He took a rather circuitous path to get to Ground Zero of the Bulldog Nation.

He was raised in upstate New York, so if you come and hear him - and you'd better - please don't tell him any of the things I have said about Yankees through the years.

Kevin Hynes' childhood was less than ideal. His mother left the family when he was 12. During his stint in the Marine Corps, he honed his penchant for alcohol, and after leaving the service he bought a Harley and set out to live the lyrics of the Steppenwolf song, "Born to be Wild."

Eventually, he was reconciled with his mother and wound up in Florida, where he found salvation through God's grace, became a policeman and then a truck driver and then ...

But I don't need to tell you the whole story. You need to go and hear it for yourself, because when you have heard Kevin "Chappy" Hynes' testimony, you have really heard something. Trust me on this one - when he gets going, he forevermore shells down the corn. And don't go there expecting to be comfortable, because he will challenge you. And if you are a bit thin-skinned, you'd better wear your steel-toed shoes, because he doesn't care whose toes he steps on. He tells the truth, in one of the most interesting and animated ways you can imagine - and his message, although geared toward young people, is one that everybody needs to hear.

Again, send your young people to Salem Camp Ground on Saturday afternoon to hear the Bulldog chaplain talk about his love affair with the Lord. Better yet, bring them yourself. You'll thank me.

And speaking of me, say hello if you come. I'll be the good looking guy in the red shirt, sitting on the front row - wearing my steel-toed boots.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.