Community Stories

Firecracker 5K Set For July 4

Rick Reinle’s New York accent is as rare in Alabama as it is to find a piece of southern pizza that lives up to his Queens standards. Even though he’s been in Alabama for seven years, he still says things like “climbing the lad-dah” when he talks about his work installing security cameras. It’s cute and unexpected, probably the same way hearing a “y’all” would be in one of the five boroughs.

Rick and his wife, Janice, were all things New York—he grew up in Queens going to Catholic churches, and she was a cop for the New York Police Department. Their life today is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the big city, but it’s also a place where they’ve found friends and family at Morningside Baptist Church.

Rick was raised in church, but he didn’t start really reading the Bible in depth until he was 22. Then he set out to find a church that closely matched his newfound belief system. There were several in his area, and Rick says he found that the people going to those churches were there out of a desire to know more instead of the cultural obligation he had been raised in.

“Churches in New York… I think a lot of people just go to churches because they have to, they were raised to, so they just go,” Rick said.

Rick worked in security and alarm systems while his wife joined New York’s finest. Later on, his brother joined the NYPD as a detective, ensuring their family a place with New York’s most respected.

The Reinle’s careers in safety and public service also shaped their faith.

“As far as Christianity goes with it, some of it is really sad…so you’re glad that there is a God, and you look for Him to help you to get through some of those tough times,” Rick said.

But exactly how does a New York Catholic end up in the Heart of Dixie going to a Baptist church?

Rick said it started when one of his friends dated a girl from the area. Several times, Rick drove down with his buddy when he went to visit her. That alone says something about Rick’s character—he made the 30-hour round-trip more than once just so his friend could visit his girlfriend.

But when his friend moved down here to marry that woman, Rick and Janice decided to go with him. Once they settled in—Rick found another job installing security systems, and Janice was hired as a hospital security officer—they set out to look for a new church.

Every week, they visited a different congregation, until one Sunday when Rick woke up late. He lived near Morningside Baptist Church, so he decided to try it out since he didn’t have time to get anywhere else.

“My first impression was that it’s small, but not small in a bad way,” Rick said. “Everybody was really friendly, and everybody would make you feel welcome.”

What Rick loved the most about Morningside was that it was big enough to get involved, but not a mega-church where he would get lost in the shuffle.

Since joining the church, Rick and Janice have gotten involved with several ministries and outreach opportunities. Rick plays drums in the worship band, works with the youth ministry and serves as a deacon. They both help with VBS, the Christmas nativity scene and other events—like the upcoming 4th of July Firecracker 5K. This is the ninth Firecracker 5K for the church.

In 2016, the event drew 226 racers, so church leaders set a goal of 500 runners for 2017.

“I think it’s more of just an outreach to the community,” Rick said. “Let them race, but let them also know we’re here, too.”

Runners will start at the church building and race down to Ditto Landing. Registration will be July 3 at Fleet Feet, and then beginning at 7 a.m. on July 4. The race begins at 8 a.m. on July 4. Free childcare and homemade snacks will be provided.

As for Rick, he will be there helping with the crowds, but don’t expect to find him running.

“I might be meeting Jesus if I tried to run it,” Rick said.

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