Dear Faculty, Staff, and Alumni,
As I attended the first FCA club meeting, I was reminded how fortunate we are to be at a school where students and teachers are free to join together and express their faith. The first meeting started normally with mostly housekeeping rules. As usual, some students were paying attention, and some were not. With about ten minutes left in the meeting, Mr. Geren played a video of a rock band that promoted the reason for FCA. The video was entertaining, and the style of music was very relative to the students’ tastes. For the most part the students paid attention and listed to the song’s message.
It was immediately after the song that I began to appreciate the teacher, father, husband, and man that is Mr. Todd Geren. Todd began to share his reasons for needing a loving God, and why he wants to help with FCA. He showed a picture of his son to the students, and they all sighed at the picture of the little boy. Todd talked about his thankfulness for a son and how he was blessed, and it seemed like it would be a normal presentation of God’s blessings; however, the next picture changed the whole tone. It was a picture of his 4 year old daughter Hannah, who suffers from Retts syndrome. It was in this moment, when he shared the story about Hannah, that Mr. Geren became so real to the students you could hear a pin drop in that auditorium with over 200 people attending. Mr. Geren, who many see as a Christian man always smiling and encouraging students, opened a door to his life revealing struggles that he has had with the question of why? Why his daughter? Why him? Has he not loved God enough? Has he not loved his wife enough? Has he not taught and served the kids at Pickens High enough? How can a loving God allow this to happen? As I watched him ask these questions, I knew there were many students asking the same thing from their seats about events in their lives. Why?
Then Todd told them something they were probably not expecting. He said, “God told me to shut up”. Mr. Geren said God had given him his daughter, and through her many blessings have come. Many people have become aware of the disease that plagues her and other girls, and money has been raised in her name to fight the disease. Todd told the students that she is a blessing to him just as the students are a blessing to him. He does not deserve them, but they are given freely just as salvation was give freely. In Todd’s message, he gave the students value and purpose and showed them that there are no obstacles they cannot overcome. It is people like Todd, who have a true love for the students that make PHS a great place to learn.
I share this story so that you may get a glimpse of how exceptional Mr. Geren is as a teacher, husband, and father. He is always thinking of others and never of himself. I had a chance to talk with him after the meeting, and I learned even more about his daughter and her treatment. He told me that his daughter was able to use a new computer program for communication that works off of eye movement, but it is very expensive. He opened up to me and told me about some of the difficulties they face as a family, and the hardest one is that she may never be able to communicate with them.
It is for this reason that I ask you for help in raising $2500 to purchase a computer program to help Mr. Geren and his family communicate with Hannah. Todd would never ask for this, and would rather have people donate to Rett research, but I believe that this is an opportunity to help one of our own. When Todd told me, with tears in his eyes, that he could not announce the basketball games anymore because of the commitments to Hannah’s condition, I knew this man was special. Even in his family’s time of need, he is still thinking about serving our students and community.
Todd makes me want to be a better husband, father, and believer, and he inspires students and peers every day. It is for this reason that I ask for your assistance in raising the $2500 for the computer software needed to help a daddy connect with his little girl.
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- Chandler Youngblood
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