Seventeen-year-old Carey Casey paused. He knew he wanted to go to FCA Camp. He was part of the Huddle at Andrew Lewis High School in Salem, Va., and a week of FCA Football Camp seemed like a good idea. But there were only white kids on that bus.
Not that Casey had anything against white kids, but this was 1973, and those white kids might have had something against a black kid riding their bus. Besides, the culture of the day said that he shouldn’t board.
But there was that voice.
“Get on the bus, son,” his father said. This was no longer an option, but instruction. Casey got on the bus.
“It wasn’t popular to get on. The culture dictated that I shouldn’t,” Casey said. “Integration was available, and it was being promoted, but it wasn’t popular.”
Casey, and in reality America, is better off because he got on that bus. It propelled a life-long journey with FCA that has impacted thousands of kids of all races.
“Pop knew that if I got on the bus, it was not just going to be a blessing for his kid,” Casey said. “It would be a blessing for all of America, regardless of race, because I can share my experience and the love of Christ. I have been able to tell that story countless times and help bring reconciliation to thousands of people.”
After Camp, Casey came back to Salem for his senior year, where he got more involved in the FCA Huddle. He then went on to play football at Northeast Oklahoma Junior College and the University of North Carolina, where he roomed with NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and then Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen.
The older guys “mentored me as a freshman,” he said. “FCA was a security for me. I could have gotten caught up in the things that tempted other guys, but I knew that I would have to look into the eyes of the leaders and my friends every Thursday night. That helped me develop as a person.”
After graduating from UNC, Casey attended Gordon/Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts, through the benevolence of Billy Graham, then Virginia Union School of Theology. He came on staff with FCA in 1983 as the urban director in Dallas. In order to be hired into the position, he first had to be interviewed by Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, who asked the question, “If you’re hired, will you be committed?”
That was a no-brainer for Casey.
In 1988, he moved to the FCA National Office in Kansas City to take the role of National Urban Director. He stayed for four years before accepting a pastoral job at Lawndale Community Church in inner-city Chicago, but returned to FCA in 1997 to head up the One Way 2 Play-Drug Free! program.
Now President of the FCA Foundation, Casey is continuing to serve the Lord through FCA. And it’s a better organization, all because Casey got on the bus.