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Annual prayer breakfast to share leadership lessons learned in battle

Maj. Jeff Struecker, retired

Twenty-four years ago, a group of men held a prayer breakfast in St. Charles County. The year before, a young soldier led a three-vehicle convoy through intense gunfire in the capital of Somalia to help return a wounded Army Ranger to their base. Perhaps you’ve heard of that operation – it is known as Black Hawk Down.

But what do those men have in common?

This year, that former Army officer – Maj. Jeffrey Struecker – will be the keynote speaker at the 24th annual Businessmen’s Prayer Breakfast of St. Charles County. Despite its name, the breakfast is open to all men and women – and it typically sells out, so if you want to go, you have to act fast. 

Sponsored in part by Mid Rivers Newsmagazine, the breakfast is at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at the St. Charles Convention Center. Doors open at 7 a.m. Admission is $25 per person. Tickets are available for purchase online at ministrytomen.net or by calling (636) 720-1202.

Struecker retired as an Army chaplain with over 22 years of active federal service. Today, he is the lead pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia, and an award-winning author with five books in print. 

“I was heavily influenced by my experience as an enlisted soldier in the United States Army,” Struecker said. “The experience taught me the basis for my leadership today. Although I was active in sharing my faith as an enlisted soldier, it heavily influenced the type of Army chaplain that I became and the pastor that I am today. Most profoundly my experience as an enlisted soldier in the Army taught me to rely on the Holy Spirit in every aspect of my life.”

Struecker will talk about some of those experiences with those gathered for breakfast on Sept. 5. And, of course, he’ll talk about faith. 

“I don’t hide my faith when I speak about my experiences in Black Hawk Down,” Struecker said. “There’s no way to separate what I went through in Mogadishu, Somalia, from my faith. However, I think there is a lot you can learn about facing challenges of life from my experience in Somalia. I believe, even if you have no real faith background, you will walk away encouraged from this event.”

The founders of the Prayer Breakfast and the men running it today say the power of the breakfast is in its ability to inspire. 

“Its purpose is to allow people to hear speakers that are very successful business professionals and community leaders sharing their stories of inspiration and faith,” said Ron Hollis, who is co-chair of the event, along with Dennis Boenker. “People do come to the event to do some networking, but it’s inspiration that is the big takeaway.” 

The breakfast is organized and hosted by Ministry to Men, a 501[c][3] organization that also hosts “about 40 men’s bible studies held weekly around St. Charles County.”

“Every business leader has to make tough decisions on occasion. Every field of business experiences tough circumstances occasionally. It’s great leadership that gets a business through those challenging circumstances,” Struecker said. “The Businessmen’s Prayer Breakfast will help you be a better leader and a better businessman or woman.  I can’t wait to see you there!”

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