Robert “Skeeter” Powell Finds His Passion

Skeeter Powell has always had a desire to help others.

Editor’s Note: Robert “Skeeter” Powell of Greenville, South Carolina, is an unusual individual who defines the word love. Once you read his story and learn about his calling, you’ll understand why he’s the role model for many. He’s not the most important person in his world and actually considers himself the least important. Part 1 of a 5 part series. 

When Robert “Skeeter” Powell was in high school, he had the opportunity to play in the North Carolina/South Carolina Shrine Bowl football game.. The event was hosted by The Shriners, and after the game, the football players were asked to go visit the children in the Shriners Hospital in Greenville. This moment in Skeeter’s life set into play his life’s work. Skeeter recalls, “What was more amazing than our team winning the Shrine Bowl that year was seeing and meeting those children at the Shriners Hospital. Meeting the children at the Shriners Hospital was where my deep rooted passion for helping children with physical, mental, emotional and behavioral problems first took hold in my soul.”

When Skeeter was in the ninth grade, he attended a meeting of Young Life, a Christian organization for young people. Skeeter recalls, “The vision of Young Life is that every adolescent will have the opportunity to meet Jesus Christ and follow Him. The mission is introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith. Skeeter was on staff with Young Life for 12 years before, according to his mother-in-law, “He retired and got a real job.” But he never really stopped working for Young Life; he just scaled it back until his children got in high school. He had worked with able bodied kids up until the night Ben Brewer came to a Young Life meeting in a power chair.

“We weren’t expecting Ben, but we were nice to him,” Skeeter explains. “We didn’t realize, until after the meeting, that his twin brother, who was able bodied, was also at this meeting. One of the activities we played that night was a skit where everyone put a paper grocery bag on his or her head. Two of the students were supposed to identify the students with the grocery bag on their heads, or at least that’s what we told the students.. The real game was that we had 350 grocery bags, and 50 of those bags had flour in them. We told the kids, ‘We’re going to count to three. Then everyone put the grocery bag on your head at the same time.’ We counted to three, and 50 of the young kids who played got a surprise. Ben Brewer was one of the students who got a bag with flour in it. We dusted Ben off like we did the other kids, but he didn’t return the next week to Young Life. “I spent the next 3 weeks trying to locate Ben to find out why he didn’t come back to Young Life. We learned that Ben hadn’t returned because of the time commitment that required to get him ready to come to Young Life, to transport him to our meetings and to transport him back home. Most kids could get ready for a meeting and be there in less than an hour. Ben required 2 hours to get ready, be transported to the meeting, unload his power chair, get Ben into his power chair and let him attend the meeting. Then the same process would be required to get him back home.

After I met and talked with Ben, we decided to set up a Young Life organization for Ben and some of his friends who had some form of disability. The first meeting was at Ben’s house, where we played games, sang songs and talked about Jesus. We had about 10 or 12 kids there. We had one little girl who could sing, and the rest of the children made a joyful noise. We had fun with Silly String that night, and then took the kids to a football game at a local high school.

Learn more about Robert “Skeeter” Powell and the David’s Table ministry


Next: Skeeter Powell Works to Include All

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at

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