Kevin Gries, 22, of Howards Grove, is more than a Sunday school teacher at his parish, St. Joseph, Grafton. He strives to be a youth motivator.
“I feel like we, as a church, need to do a better job motivating the youth in the more and more secular culture,” said Gries, the youngest of three.
In volunteering to teach youth at his parish, Gries is trying to change the negative
perception surrounding being Christian in society – referencing Tim Tebow, former
quarterback for the New England Patriots, as an example.
“We need our youth to be unashamed to stand up for moral Christian grounds,” he said.
School and/or occupation:
I am a first year graduate student at UW-La Crosse in the human performance program. I also work part time as an exercise physiologist at St. Nicholas Hospital when I am home, and during the summers, I also work on the grounds crew at Whistling Straits.
What is your dream job?
I would like to teach exercise physiology at a Christian university. I am very interested in that field and I would like share my excitement with others. I want to work at a Christian university so I can take Christianity classes on the side. I just really like to learn.
What’s on your iPod?
Lecrae and Mumford and Sons are my two favorite artists.
If you could dine with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Colt McCoy. He is one of the best college football players of all time and does everything to glorify God, not himself. He wrote two Christian-based books that are very inspiring. He is an amazing guy through and through.
Who has made the biggest impact upon you?
I don’t think I could just pick one person. I would have to say my two friends and roommates, Ryan Perry and Andy Ashenden. They really make me want to be a better person physically (all are runners), mentally and spiritually. They make me want to be better people.
What’s one thing that makes you unique?
I won a contest through ChampsSports for the biggest college football fan in America in 2009. Hook ‘em Horns!!!
Describe a normal weekend:
Fridays are usually just hanging out with friends doing various things. Saturdays are college football days where my friends and I will go somewhere to watch the games. Sundays are church and watching football at Buffalo Wild Wings while checking fantasy football constantly.
Favorite Scripture passage:
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” Rom 5:3-5.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis
What is your favorite food, dessert?
French toast, and for dessert, bacon.
A challenge in life that has strengthened your faith:
Going to college at Concordia strengthened my faith a lot. With it being a Lutheran school, I was asked a lot of questions about Catholicism and got challenged a lot. It made me realize I need to learn to defend the faith. So I did research and just got more and more strong in my faith.
Distance running. Nothing beats a good run to clear your mind.
What is the most important thing you want to accomplish in life?
Go to church with my family and have brunch after.
How do you live your faith every day?
Always being aware of chances where the Holy Spirit could lead me to a conversation to help someone out in their faith.
Name one guilty pleasure:
I never miss an episode of “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.”