“The World’s Strongest Man” remembered for a foundation of faith during Founders’ Day celebration
(VIDALIA, GA) The staff and boys of the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH) took a break from their schoolwork and daily routine to honor the legacy of Olympic gold medalist weightlifter Paul Anderson and to celebrate his and Glenda’s obedience to our Heavenly Father’s calling on their lives, to work with young men who made poor decisions and began a downward spiral.
Founded in 1961, PAYH is a Christian residential program and on-campus school dedicated to providing an alternative home setting and a positive opportunity for struggling young men between the ages of 16 and 21.
Held each October to commemorate Paul’s birthday, Founders’ Day is centered on prayer, feats of strength and group cooperation. A morning of prayer on the knoll where Anderson is buried was followed by an 11 a.m. brunch. In the afternoon, the young men split into teams for the physical activities.
Dubbed “The World’s Strongest Man,” Paul Anderson was as strong in faith as he was in body. He founded PAYH with his wife, Glenda Anderson, who continues to serve as President. They envisioned a Christ-centered residential refuge for young men with behavioral problems struggling with issues of discipline, substance abuse, anger and depression. To date, over 1,400 young men who have attended the accelerated learning, technical training and counseling program serve as testaments to the institution’s success.
“Each year this celebration reminds us of the bedrock we stand upon,” said Glenda Anderson. “Prayer was essential to Paul’s journey and to saving the lives of our boys. With the Home’s 60th anniversary just around the corner, our duty to Paul, and to the young men we serve, is to ensure it remains so.”
With a theme of rejuvenation, this year the young men were allowed to sleep in a bit before praying for the home’s residents, staff, families, devoted philanthropic partners, those affected by the coronavirus and the future of our world.
Following the service, the young men learned more about the history of PAYH from Eddie Burris, a former resident now serving as Director of Plant Operations. Along with his wife Betty, Vice President of Outreach and Compliance, they have worked at the home for over 50 years. After a mid-day meal, the day concluded with logrolling races, hurling weights and carrying stacks of bricks to spell out words.
Founded in 1961 by weightlifting world champion Paul Anderson and his wife, Glenda, the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH) is a Christian residential program and on-campus school for young men between the ages of 16 and 21 struggling with behavioral problems and issues of discipline, anger and depression. PAYH is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). In addition to counseling and character development, PAYH offers an accelerated learning program enabling residents to graduate with a high school diploma and technical certifications. To date, over 1,400 young men have attended the program. The Home is located at 1603 McIntosh St. in Vidalia, GA. To learn more about PAYH, call (912) 537-7237 or visit www.payh.org.