August 2nd, summer 2012 I was awarded with a plaque that symbolized what I’ve been trying to accomplish all my life. Since 2008 the kids of my church and I would give away a week of our summer vacation to a youth summer camp, in Branson, Missouri, that had a mission of comforting teens and bring peace to their unnoticed stressful lives. The name of this Christian sports camp is Kids Across America (KAA) and it has been successfully changing lives for the better since its birth in 1991. The founder of this camp saw a great need to serve the urban youth but before the camp was created a non-profit organization was made to fulfill the needs of inner-city teens. The name of this organization, The I’m Third Foundation was made to demonstrate an act of love declaring that in order of importance and priority God is first, others are second and I am last. The founder of the organization put the teens that live difficult lives ahead of his and it transformed into a camp that satisfies the emotional and spiritual needs from ages ten to eighteen. At the KAA camp the phrase God first, others second and I’m third became a definition of an individual who would serve God with their whole heart.
The I’m third commandment sounds like a simple task but applying the actions to follow the commandment can be far from easy. Kanakuk, a camp created before KAA but has the same founder, expanded on the I’m third belief to their campers and one certain camper embodied the very meaning of the phrase. Captain Johnny Ferrier was the camper that learned “I’m third” and his complete dedication lead to his unforgettable death. At an air show Captain Ferrier and three other men were driving planes creating designs in the air, when Captain Ferrier lead his plane toward the ground his control stick jammed. His plane was destined to crash, he was advised to eject out the plane when he radioed in but his plane was heading towards a house, full of random strangers he didn’t know. He refused to leave the plane and used all the power he had to jerk the stick, the plane made it over the house and crashed into the garden. Captain Ferrier chose to die and save the lives of the family living in the house, putting himself third and showing what true commitment is.
An award was created from his sacrifice, the “I’m Third Award”. Every year when my church goes to KAA this award is given to two individuals who fit the “I’m Third” qualities. I’m grateful to say that I was one recipient of the award; this instantly became my greatest accomplishment. What this award meant to me was that the actions I’m doing is actually leading me somewhere and the phrase that it’s a dog eat dog world isn’t always true. From now on the award encourages me to put others feelings ahead of mine and I’m proud that I won it also because of the encouragement it gives me every day.