Missing a chance for a blessing for Montevallo man

Published 5:00 pm Monday, February 11, 2013

By CATHERINE LEGG/Community Columnist

I know you’ve seen him. He is the very tall fellow — seven feet tall — who, almost every morning, walks at a fast clip around town and the park. He always wears a happy smile in spite of dripping with well-earned sweat.

Behind that smile and the daily trek is an interesting story.

Butch Lilly

Lawrence “Butch” Lilly grew up in Brierfield, went to Seven Pines Elementary School and then to Prentice High.

No surprise, but he earned a basketball scholarship to Grambling University in Louisiana.  Later, he transferred to Alabama State on a four-year scholarship.

Butch was then drafted by the New York Knicks, signed up, and attended summer camp.

“I began having trouble with my knee,” he said, “and they offered surgery, but I refused. I blew my chance and came home. I didn’t realize it then, but that was really a blessing.”

He explained that in other areas of his life, he was lost.

“I needed a savior but didn’t know I needed a savior. I thought I could do it on my own. I was drinking heavily, but finally realized that I needed something better than alcohol.”

He began reading the Bible, but when a friend asked if he was saved, he answered, “I don’t know.”

The friend recommended Romans 10.

Butch credits that study with his belief that Jesus actually found and saved him.

During those years he had developed Myasthenia Gravis, and the medication had caused him to gain up to 450 pounds.

“A nurse encouraged me to walk,” he said, “a short distance at first, then up to five miles a day. I did that for a long time, and now I still walk at least three miles three or four days a week. I find it’s a challenge and great therapy.”

Butch advises today’s young people to take a second look when they start anything they want to do, and just be sure that is what God wants them to do.

Though his life has had some unexpected twists and turns, Butch feels very blessed today to have his faith, his wife Catherine, their family and a healthier body.

Catherine Legg can be reached by email at clegg2@bellsouth.net.