In less than two weeks, Turlockers will gather together for a day of prayer – and to hear the inspirational story of how a man born with no hands became an All-American football player and successful coach.
The 20th annual Turlock Mayor's Prayer Breakfast will come to Turlock May 9. As always, the event is timed to coincide with the National Day of Prayer, a federally-designated day to “turn to god in prayer and meditation.”
“We want our community to come together and pray for our city, and our state, and our nation,” said Turlock Mayor's Prayer Breakfast board member Jim Madsen.
According to Madsen, the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast got its start after Turlocker Randy Fiorini went to a National Day of Prayer Event in Washington, D.C., in the 1990s.
“On his way home, he started brainstorming how he could bring this to Turlock,” Madsen said. “When he got back, that's exactly what he did.”
The event will feature breakfast, prayer, and a speech from Turlock Mayor John Lazar. The highlight, though, is expected to be keynote speaker Mark Speckman, an All-American football player who credits faith and perseverance with his ability to overcome his disability.
Though he was born without hands, Speckman developed into a top linebacker for Menlo College and later Azuza Pacific University. There, Speckman earned a NAIA All-American Honorable Mention.
He later coached football for more than 30 years, at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. Speckman led Merced High School to six consecutive Central California Conference titles, two section titles, and one state championship. He coached Willamette College for 14 years; in 2008, Speckman was a finalist for the Liberty Mutual National Coach of the Year award. Today, he serves as running backs coach for the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes.
Speckman was chosen as this year's speaker based on his inspirational story, which shows the power of prayer, Madsen said.
In past years, the event has featured former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, Michael Reagan, the son of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and former U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North. Last year's Prayer Breakfast was keynoted by Steve Saint, a missionary who returned to work in the same village where natives killed his missionary father.
The 20th annual Turlock Mayor's Prayer Breakfast will be held at 6:45 a.m. May 9, at Larsa Banquet Hall, 2107 E. Monte Vista Ave.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and are available at the Salvation Army, 893 Lander Ave., Geiger's Fine Jewelers, 340 E. Main St., Majesty Bible & Gifts, 3065 N. Tegner Rd., or Canal Veterinary Hospital, 2040 E. Canal Dr.
For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit www.turlockprayerbreakfast.com.