In Honor of Dr Sledge

Dr Sledge stands about 5 feet 4 inches. He’s one of the biggest men I know. He’s my hero.

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Last weekend I made by bi-weekly trip to my hometown of Monticello Florida to assist my wife in ministry to her mother. We mow the grass and do other chores. My mother in law always fixes us a nice meal to revive us after the work is done.

On the way into town, I noticed the sign outside the health clinic indicating the temperature is 96 degrees. But the temperature wasn’t the only thing in the 90’s. Just past the health clinic I see Dr. Sledge fixing up the grounds of the Boots Thomas Memorial. Yep – he’s over 90 now but that does not deter him from honoring our hometown hero. Flag Day is coming up and so is the Jefferson County Watermelon Festival. I had to turn around and say thank you.

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Monticello’s native son Boots Thomas was among those Marines that raised the American flag over Iwo Jima. It’s was a little known secret until Dr Sledge built the Memorial. But that’s only one of Dr Sledge’s accomplishments. He was a dentist – the only one in town. But he was so much more than that to me.

I remember as a child I got this thing for Christmas to make plastic spiders, worms, and other stuff of interest to a 9 year old boy. It was a hot plate with molds that you could pour this “goop” into. When heated, it became a wonderful bug. Goop came in all kinds of colors.

I figured out that I could put a safety pin in it and make a nice(?) piece of jewelry. Yep – a roach label pin! I would take my art to Dr Sledge’s office and he would come out and pretend to be interested. He would “buy” my bugs to give to his patients. I kinda doubt that he ever gave any to his patients, but I am certain that he took time to encourage me in my business venture. He was encouraging me to WORK.

His influence in my life didn’t end there. He taught the 5th grade boys Sunday School class. I remember my amazement at how he knew the details of the names of the characters in the bible. More importantly, I remember one sentence he said that made all the difference in my life:

“You don’t have to be a preacher to be a Christian.”

You see, at 9 years old I thought becoming a Christian meant being a preacher. I was afraid of that. He removed the hurdle. An hour later, when the invitation was given during the worship service, I went forward and gave my life to Christ.

When I grew up, I began to see more of Dr Sledge’s ministry. He would approach me (and others) and share that someone needed help. I’d give him a few dollars – and so would a few others. Dr Sledge always kept things anonymous and low key. There would be no self aggrandizing from him or any of those that pitched in. He just saw a need and met it.

Later, Dr Sledge would lead me on my first mission trip. We went to Barbados where I worked construction and he did free dental work. Some 20 years later, he was living the words he spoke:

“You don’t have to be a preacher to be a Christian.”

Years later, there was a crisis of sorts in our church. Our church had a house that was provided for the pastor to live in. Different denominations call it different things, but you get the idea. The house was old and run down. Spirited debate grew. Some wanted to fix up the old house. Others wanted to sell it and build something new. Tensions were high and the debate threatened to escalate into a divisive argument. The tensions broke when Dr Sledge held up the deed to a very nice piece of property and announced that he would sign it over to the church if we decided we wanted to build. The bomb was defused. The house was built. Peace and harmony was restored.

I could go on and on. I’m sure there’s countless other things Dr Sledge did that I don’t know about.

Dr Sledge stands about 5 feet 4 inches. He’s one of the biggest men I know. He’s my hero.

Thank you Dr Sledge for all the works you’ve done for which you received no recognition. I am confident that our Lord will say to you:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”


That’s what I think. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.

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Author: Mark Prasek

Christian Technologist. Find me on Twitter @DataGenesis

7 thoughts on “In Honor of Dr Sledge”

  1. Coach, big gifts sometimes come in small packages. Dr. Sledge sounds like a man with a gift who touched many hearts and minds throughout his life. His message of charity and christian devotion undoubtedly left a mark on you. Beautiful story…beautifully told. Praise God for men who care. Praise God for men who share.

    Liked by 1 person

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