CHEROKEE, Iowa | Adam Timmerman and Bruce Dagel currently find themselves criss-crossing 17 counties in Northwest Iowa for Christ.
The mission began with a question, one posed over lunch not long after ICON Ag & Turf was sold to AgriVision Equipment Group of Pacific Junction, Iowa.
The two arrived at their own junction in life, so to speak. So, over a burger in January, Dagel glanced across the table at Timmerman and said, "So, what are you going to do?"
Adam Timmerman is one of Northwest Iowa's most well-known figures. The 1989 Cherokee High School graduate played football at South Dakota State University. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1995 and spent four seasons with one of the National Football League's most storied franchises, keeping would-be tacklers away from future Hall of Fame quarterback Bret Favre.
Timmerman started on two Super Bowl teams while in Green Bay and helped one of those units claim victory in Super Bowl XXXI.
He then signed with the St. Louis Rams in 1999 and played in two Super Bowls during a marvelous eight-year run with the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf," a team that claimed Super Bowl XXXIV under the command of quarterback -- and fellow Iowa native -- Kurt Warner, who, like Favre, became a Hall of Famer.
Since coming back to Cherokee just over 10 years ago, Timmerman has engaged in farming while he and wife, Jana, raise their three children: Mason, Alexa and Jada. When not coaching youth sports or helping with his children's extracurricular activities, Adam Timmerman could be found leading ICON Ag & Turf as he served as general manager for the firm's five Northwest Iowa locations.
That changed when ICON Ag & Turf was sold, a deal finalized on Jan. 2.
"So," Dagel said to Timmerman, "what are you going to do now?"
Timmerman's answer involved the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and, specifically, what he might do to bring about more awareness and organization to a Christian entity with which he'd been affiliated since his days with the St. Louis Rams.
"There really was no FCA board up here," said Timmerman, who told Dagel he'd accepted the position of Northwest Iowa director for FCA. He explained that he sought to establish a network of talented believers who could join him in making an impact in this region -- and the world -- through their influence, their faith, and the games young people play.
He quoted the late Billy Graham in the process, saying, "One coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime."
Timmerman said he'd grown much deeper in his faith from 1999 to 2007 while participating in FCA activities in St. Louis. He joined the FCA Board for the St. Louis Metro area in the early 2000s and continued to help with the St. Louis FCA Football Camp for 15 years.
"I saw first-hand the impact FCA was having on the high schools, teams, and athletes in the area," he noted. "Lives have been changed forever!"
Timmerman accepted the invitation to join the FCA staff as Northwest Iowa director, one charged with building a network of support for the organization's area representatives so they can focus on serving coaches who will deal with and influence their schools and student-athletes.
"We seek a 'Coach for Christ' in each high school or college," he continued. "We want them to give testimony and disciple kids to Christ."
He had the interest of Dagel immediately, as his coworker learned that there was no current FCA board working among the schools and colleges under one Northwest Iowa umbrella. Dagel, a 1991 Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn graduate, played football at Simpson College and then at Worthington (Minnesota) Junior College while earning his business degree. For the past 4¾ years, he'd worked with Timmerman, as ICON's solutions manager, a position, he learned, the new company had already staffed when the sale of the business transpired.
"I want to be mobile, out with people and trying to influence them as the Lord has influenced me," said Dagel, who, with wife Leah, has raised three children at Cherokee: Brock, Stetson and Olivia. (Brock played football at Iowa State, Stetson played football at the University of South Dakota, and Olivia participates in track at USD.)
Dagel and Timmerman had been in a Bible study with four other people the past eight years in St. Paul United Methodist Church in Cherokee.
"We are prospective staff," Timmerman said. "We are unpaid, still training."
To which Dagel smiled and added, "Talk about a leap of faith!"
That faithful jump came about in a heart-to-heart discussion shared between two old football players. Dagel called it a "brother moment."
Said Timmerman, "Who will do it if we don't do it?"
So, the pair has spent the past several weeks visiting with prospective FCA board members, givers and leaders. They've traveled from Cherokee in every direction, reaching out to coaches, administrators and friends, learning about some established FCA groups in various high schools and colleges, and learning more about the need.
At some point, they aim, five staff members may serve this massive corner of Northwest Iowa.
A meeting at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, bore fruit almost immediately as the pair, working in concert with Red Raider football coaches, established the dates (July 26-28) for a football camp that Timmerman and Dagel will run jointly with NWC Coach Matt McCarty and his staff. While details have yet to be worked out, Timmerman remains hopeful they can secure assistance at the camp from coaches representing Dordt College, Morningside College, Briar Cliff University and Buena Vista University.
"It will be an individual skills camp where we'll also hear the message of Jesus," said Timmerman, a man who has shared his testimony in dozens of settings, large and small, throughout Siouxland over the past 10-12 years.
"Building the foundation in our leadership board will give us staying power," said Timmerman, noting he'd like to one day have 25 people giving of their time and talent with that board.
"When I was done with football, I knew I wanted to be a Christian man in the business world," Timmerman said. "That (business) door recently closed, but in working the past 10 years throughout Northwest Iowa, basically within this (geographic) footprint, I think it prepared me for this."