LaPORTE | A former college football player turned minister who travels the world providing hope to children and young adults gave a presentation before nearly 200 people Thursday night in La Porte.
Clarence Lee, 43, was a guest at Crossroads Christian Center as part of its weekly Invade youth ministry.
Lee was brought in as part of the community's ongoing multi-pronged strategy aimed at reducing drugs and other growing issues among young people locally.
One of his messages was no matter how tough life might appear to be now it's all part of God's training camp to make people stronger and more successful in the future.
''He's preparing you for the Super Bowl,'' said Lee, who broke baseball bats and performed other acts of brute strength to keep the attention of the crowd.
Lee weighed just 85 pounds at age 13 when he saw on TV that former football great Herschel Walker did 3,000 push ups a day then decided to start working out strictly for revenge from getting bullied.
The most he could do at the beginning was 10 push ups a day but, eventually, he got up to a whopping 4,000 push ups every morning.
He played football as a freshman in high school but didn't wind up on the playing field again until his final year of eligibility at Florida State.
''I was always the skinniest kid in my school,'' said Lee.
He was a trainer and equipment manager at the university while sneaking into the weight room on campus at night to work out.
Lee didn't know it but then head coach, the legendary Bobby Bowden, watched him for three months on surveillance video and offered him a spot on the team not only because of his strength but felt his work ethic would have a positive influence on his players.
Bowden also saw natural leadership abilities in Lee and during practice often called him out to speak to kids.
Lee had brief stints with several NFL teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but injuries to areas like the hamstrings and knees from being too bulky without enough stretching kept him from extending his stay.
''I know the lord was preparing me for bigger steps and to do what I'm doing today,'' said Lee.
Lee said he inherited a work ethic from his father being in the military and never did alcohol and drugs or get into trouble while growing up, but it wasn't until he learned from a mentor to let himself to die to Christ that he really became a Christian.
For the past 19-years, Lee has traveled the world reaching out to children and young adults along with offenders in prison with hope anchored by his unshakable belief in Jesus.
''It’s not you doing the work. It's him doing the work in you and you have to be humble and that's the hard part. Being humble,'' said Lee.
La Porte mayor Blair Milo has reintroduced the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program in schools recently. She also has suggested a heroin treatment clinic possibly opening within the last year.
A drug court also recently was established to place more emphasis on treatment instead of jail for some lower level narcotics users and dealers.