Korey Stringer's Story
Korey Leaves Legacy of God's Peace To Family In Warren, Ohio
by John Cockroft
Heart pounding, Cathy Stringer prays for courage as she opens the hospital room door revealing what she already knows, but doesn't want to accept, this early August morning.
As Cathy enters the room her eyes focus on her son Korey's face and an unexpected sense of peace embraces her. "When I saw his face I knew he was with the Lord," Cathy says. "His familiar little smirk told me he was resting in peace."
Korey, 27, a 6-foot-4-inch, 335-pound Pro Bowl tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, died of heart failure brought on by heatstroke after working out with teammates in scorching heat. Though news of Stringer's death shocked many, the way he lived his life is what most will remember.
Stringer was a peacemaker, according to George Johnson, pastor of Agape Church, an independent Pentecostal church the Stringer family attends in Warren, Ohio.
"I knew Korey from the time he was born," Johnson, a longtime friend of the Stringer family, says. "When he was drafted to the NFL, I gave him a Bible."
Korey, not a believer at the time, read that Bible a lot, says Johnson, especially the books of John, James and Proverbs.
"He had gone from middle class to millionaire [with his football contract]," Johnson says, "but he told me there was still a void in his life before he met Christ."
During visits home, Korey often talked to Johnson about the Bible. When he was 23 years old he accepted Christ as Savior.
"Korey was always helping kids, encouraging them," James Stringer, Corey's dad, says. "He was kind-hearted for a big guy, but after finding Christ, he had the peace of God in him in a whole new way."
"Now that he's gone, I have a gigantic hole in my heart because he was part of my soul," Cathy says. "Despite the pain, my heart is also smiling because of the wonderful things people are saying about Korey. I get cards, calls and e-mails. I hardly go out now without getting a hug from someone telling me how they admired Korey.
Reprinted by permission of the Pentecostal Evangel.