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Leap of faith truly pays off

When the congregation at First Baptist Church in Ironton embarked on a fundraising project that far surpassed anything it had ever undertaken before, it would have only been human for there to have been some doubts or concerns.

Instead, the men and women of the church did the most natural thing: Took a leap of faith.

It was faith that led the congregation to believe that the community needed a safe environment for young and old to nurture their bodies and their spirits.

It was faith that led the church to believe that it and the community could raise more than $1.3 million needed to complete its Faith and Fitness Center that could serve as a beacon of togetherness.

And it was faith that brought dozens together Sunday to celebrate the grand opening of the facility that will provide a walking track, basketball arena, auditorium, classroom areas and even an emergency shelter if needed.

This facility will fill a great need within the Ironton-area as it offers a safe environment for youth of all denominations to enjoy physical activities and fellowship with peers. It will also provide a protection from Mother Nature for senior citizens looking to stay active by walking.

Two community blood drives are currently scheduled at the center through the American Red Cross for Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 22 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the type of things that the Rev. Dennis Strawn and youth pastor Eric Barnes have planned for the facility that they truly believe belongs to the entire community.

The first step was that Strawn and the First Baptist congregation saw a need. But, most importantly, they took action to make a difference.

Just like the bricks and mortar that holds this impressive structure together, this initiative and vision will be a strong foundation within the city for years to come.