The Ashland Beacon
Friday night, just prior to the Fairview Eagles victory over Morgan County, the homecoming crowd fell silent and stood as the echo of the invocation spread across the entire valley. The impact of the invocation and the man offering it covered much more ground across a much greater space of time.
Since 2014, Fairview sports and graduations have had one common theme, and that would be the sincere, heartfelt prayers of local Pastor Jack Salyers. Year after year, game after game, class after class he’s been a consistently reassuring presence offering more than a simple pre-game tradition. He was reaching out to heaven for all those participating and all those who could hear the petition he makes before each home game and every graduation.
Salyers is in his second stint as Pastor of Ironville Enterprise Church on Donta Road and has been Pastor since 2001, which followed an initial pastorate from 1985-1989. He first became associated with Fairview Independent Schools in 1998 as a member of the maintenance staff, where he worked for 19 years until his retirement in 2017. “Being an employee, being associated with the student body, we went to a lot of the ball games,” he shared, continuing, “I went to many of the graduations.”
He recalled folks knew that he was a minister, so one night, whoever had been doing the prayer was not able to be there, and they asked him. He gladly accepted. “I love these people. I’ve been associated with them for years,” Salyers recounted, “and the people have been encouraging in regards to the prayers. I’ll hear from folks who tell me they enjoy and appreciate the words I’ve prayed.”
The longtime Pastor has no intention of stopping. “As long as they want me,” Salyers described his dedication to praying at Fairview events, “I consider it an honor anytime you give out a prayer for someone. As a minister or a Christian, it is our duty and our privilege.” He conveyed, “I’ve forgotten, for a moment, the impact of the prayer but I’m reminded, and when I hear that voice echoing across that field, we remember how small we are and how big God is.”
Salyers is just fine where he is, too. Pastor. Prayer leader. Encourager. It’s like he’s in the place he was always supposed to be. He sums it up in a few simple words, “It’s where God places you. It’s a calling.”