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Former Steeler tells PCS grads: Leading a Christian life means dealing with the messes

June 2, 2011

Former Steelers lineman Jon Kolb (far left) and PCS teacher Megan Decker (far right) congratulate PCS’ three graduating seniors — (second from left) Michael Neal, Isaac Fugate and Charles Higgs — during their commencement Thursday at the First United Methodist Church. (Photo by Tom Chapin/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Perhaps it was a reference to his days on a muddy gridiron, but Thursday, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Jon Kolb had some unusual advice for the three graduating seniors from the Punxsutawney Christian School (PCS) Class of 2011.

Take the messy way.

Kolb was among those addressing PCS’ three seniors — valedictorian Isaac J. Fugate, salutatorian Charles C. Higgs and Michael A. Neal — during the school’s annual commencement, this year held at the First United Methodist Church.

Fugate is the son of Joel and Kimberly Fugate. Higgs is the son of Angela Pearce. Neal is the son of Kenneth and Marjorie Neal.

Kolb — who was drafted by Pittsburgh out of Oklahoma State in 1969, played with the Steelers from 1969 to 1981 and earned four Super Bowl rings — cited Proverbs 14:4: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”

He said sometimes, God has a plan for His people, but, as He did for neither Moses nor Paul, He doesn’t always leave a door open.

Kolb recalled his youth in his native Oklahoma, wanting to change the engine in his 1946 International, but since he was not of a mechanical mind, he sought the help of the proprietor of Happ’s Salvage Yard.

The salvage yard was always a mess, Kolb said, yet he and Happ successfully replaced the engine in the vehicle.

The salvage yard changed when Happ died, he said: Things got cleaned up.
“When Happ was living, there was a mess, but things were happening,” Kolb said.

“We don’t like to have a squeaky-clean life,” he said. “But when you serve God, there will be lots of messes going on. Maybe He wants you to take the messy way, because that’s what He has in store for you.”

As another example, Kolb also cited Hebrews 12:27-28: “And this word, yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

He also said that in examining Christian life, “it isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.”

“Seek the messy barn,” Kolb said. “Go after it; don’t jog.”

Fugate, who was also awarded scholarships from Marion Center Bank and the American Red Cross, said he was thankful to those who founded PCS in 1997. He enrolled the next year, and is the first PCS student to graduate after enrolling in all grades, K-12.

“They believed God was calling them to do this,” he said about the PCS founders.

Fugate also offered a brief history of the school thus far, noting that despite never having an enrollment of more than 200 students in grades K-12, graduates have gone on to study at various four-year colleges and universities.

“God has been with this school since the beginning,” he said.

In closing, Fugate told his fellow graduates, “Make the world remember the PCS Class of 2011, because we’re worth remembering.”

The salvage yard was always a mess, Kolb said, yet he and Happ successfully replaced the engine in the vehicle.

The salvage yard changed when Happ died, he said: Things got cleaned up.
“When Happ was living, there was a mess, but things were happening,” Kolb said.

“We don’t like to have a squeaky-clean life,” he said. “But when you serve God, there will be lots of messes going on. Maybe He wants you to take the messy way, because that’s what He has in store for you.”

As another example, Kolb also cited Hebrews 12:27-28: “And this word, yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

He also said that in examining Christian life, “it isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.”

“Seek the messy barn,” Kolb said. “Go after it; don’t jog.”

Fugate, who was also awarded scholarships from Marion Center Bank and the American Red Cross, said he was thankful to those who founded PCS in 1997. He enrolled the next year, and is the first PCS student to graduate after enrolling in all grades, K-12.

“They believed God was calling them to do this,” he said about the PCS founders.

Fugate also offered a brief history of the school thus far, noting that despite never having an enrollment of more than 200 students in grades K-12, graduates have gone on to study at various four-year colleges and universities.

“God has been with this school since the beginning,” he said.
In closing, Fugate told his fellow graduates, “Make the world remember the PCS Class of 2011, because we’re worth remembering.”

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