Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Will MC Sesquicentennial Celebration

I have been asked to serve as a Master of Ceremonies (MC) during the Baker County Sesquicentennial Celebration on Saturday, September 24, 2011.  A full day of activities will celebrate the 150th anniversary of one of Florida's First Coast Counties.  The events will be centered around a historic area of the City of Macclenny, and will include a parade, demonstrations, arts & crafts, civil war re-enactors, historic displays in the old jail, art exhibit in the library, antique car show, a variety of music, historic tours, a fly-over by Jim Leward Air Ranch flying World War II P6’s, plenty of food, and much more!  Visit the celebration website for more information about the events or participating.  You'll also find some historic photos from the county on the site and links to even more photos of the area and families from the past.

Ok, so you may be asking, why was the 3'10" tall evangelist asked to be the MC?  I'm not exactly sure, but I'm proud to do so, because my family and I have a lot of history in this county.  I started living in the west Baker County community of Olustee regularly in 1969 beginning 6th grade at Macclenny Elementary School and graduating from Baker County High School (in Macclenny) in 1976.  My dad, Johnnie Croft, Jr. and his dad, Johnnie Croft, Sr. had lived here basically their entire lives.  In fact, my grandfather served as county commissioner from Olustee for several terms.  He name is even on one of the cornerstones of the current courthouse in Macclenny. (See Time Capsule video)

Stetson & Croft
I received my Associate of Arts degree at Lake City Community College, now Florida Gateway College, in 1978.  Have you noticed the older we get the more things have changed their name?  Maybe, it's just me.  While in high school and some in college, I even wrote a few articles for The Baker County Press newspaper.  I even co-authored a cartoon with a high school friend, David Burnett, that had a very short run (no pun intended) in the same paper.  While in college I passed a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) test and received a Radio Telephone Third Class Operator's Permit with a Broadcast Endorsement.  That was required to become a radio DJ at that time.  That led to me working for the very first radio station in Baker County, WBKF-FM "BK-92" (now WJXR), when it first went on-the-air in October 1978.  This is when our station manager Frank Thies (of WQIK fame) gave me the nickname "James the Giant", and, boy, has it stuck!!  I was on the air as a DJ and the station's news director.  While working in radio I tried my hand at entertainment.  I was a booking agent for several bluegrass, country and gospel bands, was co-promoter with Wayne Stetson, aka Cherill Mobley, of the twice-yearly Lawtey Bluegrass Music Convention, MC'd bluegrass festivals in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and had a syndicated bluegrass music program on five Florida stations.  At one point, I even moonlighted as a part-time dispatcher with the former Macclenny Police Department.

Croft with NRSWA Reps & Gov. Martinez
In 1984 I felt the call to public service and made a run for the Baker County Commission and was elected.  During my first meeting on the commission I was elected as Chairman at the ripe-old age of 26.  (See the Flashback 1984 video In 1988 I was un-elected to the Baker County Commission!  Ahhh, Baker County politics... now that's another story.  My role in local government led me to work for New River Solid Waste Association (NRSWA) serving Baker, Bradford and Union Counties.  This put me back in public service to my home county working with local organizations, volunteers and each of our great schools.  During these "trash talkin'" days, the Lord led me into His service, preaching the Gospel as an evangelist.  I left NRSWA in late 2006 for full-time ministry service.  The Lord is now using me for more than the traditional revival meeting preacher.  The James Croft Evangelistic Association now has the opportunity, in part because of my past "careers", to be utilized by God in nursing homes, schools, prisons, on the web, and at many special events.  (See the JCEA website for info on all of these ministry areas.)

Over the years and through all of the "careers", I have continued to live in the same home (my grandparent's home) and conduct all of my adventures from the thriving metropolis of Olustee!  It has been, it is, and shall continue to be "home".

I still may not have answered the original question of "why me for MC"?  The answer could be as simple as no one else would do it?  I don't know, but it was fun reminiscing for a little while.  "Reminiscing", is that an age thing too??

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