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Reid Velo finds community and strength in Bethel Royals football.
BEGIN . BELONG . BECOME
Reid Velo almost didn't come to Bethel. He had narrowed his search to 3 other schools, but wasn't quite happy with any of them. "Suddenly I began to feel like I should visit Bethel despite having crossed it off my list six months earlier," he explains.
"The minute I stepped on campus, I had an unexplainable peace. Interactions with professors, coaches, and students further confirmed my gut-feeling, along with the fact that Bethel possessed all of the traits I was attracted to in the other schools."
Reid quickly found a supportive community in Royals football. "The football team has been my family at Bethel," the senior wide receiver says. "We are a group of guys who rally around the sport we love with the goal of bringing glory to God. Being a group of brothers, our community naturally employs the proverb of sharpening each other "as iron sharpens iron."
Besides providing a place to belong and excel, playing football helped sharpen the tools he used during his time volunteering in refugee camps and orphanages in Nairobi, Kenya.
"To be a successful football player, you have to develop the ability to process and respond to lots of information in your environment. You have to 'listen' intently to what is going on, so you know how to direct your energy towards the ultimate goal. This was the most valuable skill I brought with me to Kenya. Being at a displacement camp at Karura Community Chapel, I found myself in a new environment. I 'listened' to my surroundings and found that the best ways I could contribute were to learn, to use my hands and follow the directions of others and to build community."
Reid's leadership on and off the field and his compassion in Kenya resulted in his being named to the 2009 Allstate AFCA Good Works Teams, honoring dedicated and hard-working student-athletes for their non-athletic achievements and selfless contributions to their communities. They're also qualities he plans to hone further: Reid is considering both studying sports psychology and attending seminary after he graduates.