Jim ‘Coach’ Taylor receives 2023 Impact Award

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At the fourth annual Alumni & Friends Dinner and School Auction, Pastor John Bussman (left) presents Jim "Coach" Taylor (right) with St. Paul's Lutheran School 2023 Impact Award (Cayla Grace Murphy)

CULLMAN, Ala. – When Jim “Coach” Taylor first learned he was the recipient of this year’s Impact Award at St. Paul’s Lutheran School, he was surprised. It came as no surprise, however, to every other educator, staff member, parent and student that he was the recipient of such a high honor, typically only reserved for former educators and students.

Taylor’s career with St. Paul’s spans nearly a decade, and all began with a student named Will Fowler, who had muscular dystrophy. There was a crucial need for Fowler to have direct support in order for him to attend St. Paul’s, and Taylor showed up as the hands and feet – literally – for Fowler to receive the education his parents wanted him to have.

After Fowler left St. Paul’s, Taylor proposed a deal. “I told them I wasn’t leaving, so they needed to find me something to do!” he smiled.

The staff and headmaster at the time readily accepted the deal to keep Taylor on the St. Paul’s team by increasing the P.E. program from two days a week to four days. Through this change of pace, Taylor was able to meet students where they are, and foster a sense of independence through structured play.

“God knew exactly what He was doing when I ended up at St. Paul’s,” shared Taylor during a tearful acceptance speech at the Terri Pines clubhouse.

Emily Trahan, of St. Paul’s, echoed a sentiment that many others shared that evening: “Coach Taylor is such a kind and giving soul and we are beyond blessed to have him at St. Paul’s.”

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