Bob Burton and Matt Jarzynka teamed up to deliver two very strong messages to the 175 people who gathered at the Arcadia High School gym on Saturday, April 6th for the 34th Annual Family Banquet.
Following the invocation, delivered by Arcadia sophomore, Seth Woodward, a fabulous meal was served by Country Catering, and was enjoyed by all present. A beautiful selection of gospel music was presented by Linnie Cusimano and Kathy Fowler. Master of Cermonies, Pastor Jeff Hale, then introduced Matt Jarzynka.
Matt shared his personal story of chasing his dream to be a Nebraska Cornhusker. After graduating from Loup City High School in 2014, Matt was selected as a walk-on. He said that he was able to become a member of the elite Blackshirts because of family and faith.
Matt gave much credit to his mother and father. He said his mom taught him what it truly means to be a good person. He credits her for “having one of the most positive attitudes on the planet.” He said his father “is the hardest working man I ever met. Working on the family farm, he taught me what hard work was and it was his tireless work ethic that showed me to never quit until the job was not only done, but done right.” Matt continued, “But by far the most important thing my parents ever taught me was how to pray. In doing this, they taught me how to build a relationship with God.”
Matt went on to share how important it is for young people to become well-rounded in all facets of education. He then shared his experience as a Husker under three head coaches, four defensive coaches, four defensive line coaches, and three strength coaches.
With regard to being criticized, Matt said, “Nobody likes to be told what they are doing wrong. Everyone wants to be congratulated or told how good they are and that’s fine if you’re happy with just being average. But if you truly want to become great at what you are doing, you will listen to them and understand what they are saying isn’t meant to hurt you but, in fact, make you better.”
Matt wrapped up his talk by telling about the influence people like Mick Stoltenberg, Damien Jackson, and Sam Foltz have had on his life. However, he said it was Max Chapman, a man of strong faith who, through bible study and prayer, taught him more about the importance of faith in God than he could have ever imagined. That’s what kept him trying, even when he wasn’t getting on the field to play. He closed with a quote from Sam Foltz: “Dream big, Work hard, Stay humble.”
Bob Burton, Assistant Athletic Director of Football at UNL, shared a personal testimony of how God has led him through his marriage and his career. He said he grew up in Falls City, NE, the son of a teacher and a veterinarian. After completing his education at UNL, which included a Law Degree, he married Christa and they initially lived in Stillwater, OK and Lubbock, TX where he worked as an investigator for the universities in dealing with recruiting infractions.
They moved back to Nebraska in 1998 where he was employed by UNL. It was at that time that they lost a baby girl at birth. Bob said that statistics show that 80 percent of marriages fail after couples lose a child. He said that in the loss of their daughter, he came to realize that he did not have the strength or the power within himself to deal with what had just happened. He fell to his knees and recognized that only God could carry him and Christa through…and He did.
They were given strong support through their Berean Church family, along with a three year bible study through a men’s fraternity dealing with the question, “What is a Real Man?” He was taught to (1) Accept Responsibility; (2) Reject Passivity; (3) Lead Graciously; and (4) Expect a Greater Reward. Over the years which followed, Bob felt God calling him to a special task in addition to being a great employee, husband and father.
Eventually, God called him to an awareness of what is happening with sex trafficking across our nation and, specifically, in Lincoln and other towns in Nebraska. Through the experience of a young lady named Megan Johnson who was caught up in this horrible business, Bob has established his own foundation called “I’ve Got a Name.”
He is working feverishly to make a difference in the lives of young girls in our state and beyond as a tribute to the life of their precious daughter who died at birth. In closing, he quoted Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s Masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT) Finally, he looked straight at the fathers in the audience and said, “Dads, don’t just say me too when your kids tell you that they love you…speak these words to your kids…I LOVE YOU!”
Some door prizes were given and Caden Greenland, a senior at Arcadia High School, delivered the benediction.