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Tim Burns

Tim Burns loves basketball. As a former college basketball player, his passion for the game is unsurprising, but that passion has led to more. “When I moved to Raleigh shortly after college,” says Tim, “I immediately started volunteering at the YMCA as a referee. When I started dating my wife, we attended a few services at St Francis, and I noticed the basketball ministry contacts listed in the Church Bulletin.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Tim’s interest in basketball volunteering led him to his faith and to St Francis. “I spoke with Jerry Cucurullo, and I started refereeing in the Church League because it was closer to where I was living than the YMCA,” says Tim. “Truth be told, the basketball program at St Francis is what drew me into the Church in the first place. I discovered a whole community of people with the same passion I had, but it just happened to be at Church.” Jerry soon asked Tim if he would coach a team in the high school division, which he gladly accepted. “After falling in love with this community, I pursued the RCIA process,’ Tim recalls, “I grew up as a Lutheran but felt called to faith here, and I have been giving back ever since.”

Why give back as a volunteer? Tim feels strongly, “We are called to share our talents with the Church. Everyone is good at or passionate about something, and there are so many ministries available at St Francis where you can share your talents. Unsurprisingly, given his background, Tim quotes Nike when asked how he would encourage others to volunteer. ”Just Do It,” he says, “Find one of the many ministries available that match one of your interests or passions and get involved. You will be shocked how rewarding it is on so many levels.”

Tim finds in his over 28 years of volunteering in the league that he also reaps many personally rewarding moments from his work. “I have met so many wonderful families through involvement with the basketball ministry. I have witnessed the kids I have coached grow into young adults and start their own families. Some come back to the league as referees or even coaches of their child’s team.”  “But the most rewarding thing,” he says, “is that no matter how old the kids get, they always address me as ‘coach.’  I love being out in a store or a restaurant and hearing off in the distance, ‘Hey coach.’ I always turn around and look with great anticipation to find out who I’m about to see.” 

Author: Mike Watson