Announcing Our Speakers for July 2016

Norm Wakefield

Norm Wakefield is a speaker, pastor, and the founder of Elijah Ministries. The calling of God in Norm’s life has given him a heart for men and their families. His calling as a child of God has birthed an emphasis on the gospel and relationship with Jesus Christ. It forms the basis for wisdom in all aspects of life and is the strength of Elijah Ministries.

As a husband, Norm longs to see marriages that glorify God. His calling as a father of four has gven him a heart for family. When God called Norm into the pastoral ministry, God led him to disciple and encourage men.

Leading people into the presence of God has come from his calling as a worship leader. The desire of his heart is to see God glorified in His people as they apply God’s Word to their lives.

Ray McElroy

Ray McElroy is a native of Chicago, Proviso West alum and graduate from Eastern Illinois University. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and he is a licensed minister. McElroy is devoting his post football career to encouraging youth, young adults and families through A Ray of Hope on Earth. McElroy is the current Team Chaplain for the Chicago Bears football club and a full-time professional, motivational speaker who for the past 8 years has been bringing the life changing message of Jesus Christ to the masses. With the winning combination of his high-energy and athleticism along with the powerful message of truth, McElroy has successfully captured the minds, thoughts and actions of thousands of youth across America. Students and principals alike have confirmed McElroy’s message is hard-hitting, clear-cut and decisive as well as enlightening, empowering and equipping everyone with valuable skills to take their life to a higher level. Visit our comments page for more feedback.

At Proviso West High School, McElroy was a track & field and football athlete. He still holds the record there in the 110 high hurdles, 4×1 relay and 300 intermediate hurdles events. Annually McElroy returns to his roots in the summer to host the Ray McElroy Pro Football Youth Camp. There he gathers his current and former professional football friends to assist him in teaching professional level football skills on the field while incorporating evocative mentoring segments teaching the importance of upstanding off the field behavior.

While at EIU, McElroy was a four-year starter at cornerback for the Panthers, McElroy was also a 3-time first team All Gateway Conference player (1992-1994), an Associated Press Third Team All-American (1994) and selected for The Kelly Tires Blue Gray All-Star Classic. In 1995, the Safety/Cornerback was selected as the fourth round draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts where he played for four years. He then went on to play for the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.

As McElroy was capturing the attention of the NFL, he also caught the eye of his college sweetheart, Michelle. They have four beautiful children. They have also journeyed the road of ministry together. They both hold a bachelor degree in theology and are ordained ministers. They also are certified FLOW consultants and life coaches from the Center for Advanced Coaching.

Joe Marquez

Joe Marquez was born in November 1950 in Long Island, NY. His father was in the military so his life of travel began at six weeks of age when the family moved to Panama. His father’s career took them to many US duty stations and also to England and France. Joe’s mother and father had 8 more boys before their family was broken up by the parent’s decision to divorce. Joe struggled to stay in school and help his mother raise the younger boys but his lack of a high school education did not allow him to get any employment that gave much income. He decided to join the military and finish his formal education and be able to have a stable income to help his family.

After 2 tours in Vietnam, Joe came back to the US at a time of great demoralization of our troops. On a night in 1970 while using drugs, things started to really take a frightful turn when it appeared that the drugs were causing an abnormal reaction. Fearing for his life he dug out the Gideon New Testament that he had been issued when he went into service. Though he had carried it for some time through the jungle as some kind of talisman it had become cumbersome and had eventually ended up in a foot locker. But having been taught by his mother to respect the Word of God, Joe had kept it and now he knew he needed something beyond his own wisdom. That began a search for the truth contained in God’s word and led him to the Christian Serviceman’s Center to be taught and there he began his spiritual growth.

In 1972, Joe met fellow student, Ramona, at a Bible Institute and they were married in June 1973. They settled in South Carolina and had 4 children. From their early meeting Joe and Ramona had shared an interest in serving the Lord in foreign missionary service and in February 1989 they moved their family to do just that in Paraguay. Their children are all married now and they are grandparents to 14 children ranging in age from 2 to 18. Though they still maintain their home in Paraguay they have spent extended times in South Carolina while Joe is under the care of VA doctors for what are considered service connected illnesses. However, this time in the US has opened up a unique ministry among veterans and active duty military.