I believe many of you know that a week ago we lost our Board Chairman and one of my very best friends Ronnie Norris. Ronnie has been serving as the Board Chairman of YBL for almost 20 years. He was more than a friend, he was family. He traveled with us around the world watching my daughter Catherine’s soccer games with the US national team. He also hosted the wedding reception for my daughter Ginny’s wedding.

Ronnie had an infectious laugh, he loved life to the fullest. He was one of the most optimistic and positive people on the planet. One of his most quoted sayings was “It only takes a little bit more to go first class”. He loved doing things for others, and his home was always the gathering place for any and every occasion. His wife Nancy was amazingly flexible, and enjoyed hosting all the events they had.

Ronnie was a consummate business man. He and his brother Wayne worked together in their father’s business for almost 40 years. They took that business to the place where it was sold to a Fortune 500 company. Then he and Wayne worked for Terex, for the next 15 years, which was an affirmation for the work they had done previously.

Ronnie approached the Boards he served on the same way. Ronnie accompanied me on many trips to cities where we have YBL ministries. Whether there was a problem in one of our cities, or whether we were looking to start a new city, he was always ready to make the trip. He was a great leader for us, using the collective wisdom of the Board in making decisions and moving us forward.  But he was not afraid to make a decision, if one was needed to accomplish the mission. He would use his experience and wisdom to help people individually who were starting a business or coming up with a business plan.

Ronnie loved our Lord Jesus Christ. It was his desire to always honor Him. He would point others to Him in every situation. He would always pray gratefully, because it was his nature, and because he recognized how blessed he was. He almost always ended his prayers with “We love, because He first loved us.”

He will be truly missed. There are so many other things that I could say. There will be a great void in his family, my family, Terex, his church and this ministry. But he would say “Carry-on! Finish well! Love others!” My answer, “By God’s grace and His Holy Spirit’s power, we will do so!”

In Jesus is our blessed hope!