BRANSON, Mo. — The South Central Missouri Fellowship of Christian Athletes hosted NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly at its annual banquet on April 11.

The 10th Annual Christian Athlete and Coach of the Year Banquet was held at Chateau on the Lake and gathered hundreds of athletes and coaches from about 20 area high schools.

Guests in attendance saw the year’s top student athletes and coach receive honors and also got to hear from Kelly, who led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Kelly, like previous speakers Lou Holtz and Dick Vitale, is outspoken about how his Christian faith has played a role in his life both before and after the NFL.

According to the South Central MO FCA website, Kelly retired from the NFL in January 1997. A few months later, their six-month-old son Hunter was diagnosed with a rare disease. Kelly later battled cancer himself.

I did run from God in the beginning. But later on, I realized I needed God. And thank God I did. I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t have my two daughters at home. I wanted to have them love being around daddy. The ultimate is being able to see my son again. Because I know I will.”

Jim Kelly, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback

Kelly and his wife Jill established Hunter’s Hope in 1997 in honor of their son. To date, the foundation has given over $14 million to leukodystrophy and other neurological disease research.