In the early 1980s, I came to Georgia to start Eagle Ranch. This mission has grown well beyond its humble beginnings and what I envisioned as a young man in my 20s. Today, the Ranch is one of the largest programs in the Southeast for boys and girls in crisis with the goal of family restoration and reunification.
My motivation for starting the Ranch was twofold: First, that Eagle Ranch would be a tangible expression of God’s goodness and power in this world. I hope that when people experience the “Miracle on Chestnut Mountain,” they look past a person or a group of people to a God who is still active in miraculous ways in this world.
Secondly, I wanted our mission to enable us to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who struggle. Jesus was always going to people – some of whom were on the fringes of society and others who “had their act together” – and calling out something better in them. He called out greatness that, in many cases, lay dormant inside a person. I wanted to be part of doing that for children.
When Eagle Ranch opened in 1985, I knew that my tenure as executive director would eventually come to an end. We’ve been planning for this time for over five years to make sure that the leadership transition for Eagle Ranch would be as seamless as possible.
To that end, Eagle Ranch will soon begin the search for a new executive director who will guide our organization into the future. Once this new leadership is in place, I will remain with Eagle Ranch in the role of founder. We anticipate this taking place in early 2021.
As founder, I will lead an exciting initiative to reach even more children and families. This new expansion will include the James W. Webb Wings Center, a 10,000-square-foot facility, which will provide counseling services to children and families who are not part of our residential program. Several comprehensive studies have shown that the lack of mental health initiatives is one of the greatest challenges for our area, so we look forward to joining the therapeutic community to help meet this need. At Eagle Ranch, we’ve always believed that need drives vision, and this is one such example.
In addition to community counseling services, the Wings Center will provide space for our Wings Initiative, where we provide counsel and best practice advice to other children’s programs and nonprofits. We also have plans in the works for marriage and parenting retreats, as well as other services that complement our mission.
Thank you for believing in my dream and supporting the Ranch’s growth throughout the years. Be assured Eagle Ranch exists today because of your investment in this mission.