By Kate Marlowe
Dan Pearson, best known as sportscaster at KWQC spoke at Peace Soup this past week. The theme for this year’s series is Amazing Graces. It is about turning tragedies and hurdles into graces. For Pearson, that hurdle was his behavior at work. Once he became a Christian he found that through prayer he was able to ask God to help him and eventually he realized his place at the station was an amazing grace. “TV is just this maddening daily routine of technology that sometimes is a lot of work. The people you deal with and the time – the weather guy goes thirty seconds long so they take it from you…I can remember anger issues and swearing. God took that away. The other thing God took away is my view of people. Especially teens.” Shortly after a station announcement that sports time would be cut to two minutes, the Highlight Zone emerged, its popularity soared, and sports news was given more time instead of less. Pearson discovered he was seeing teenagers as “fodder” for the sales people but through prayer he began to view the teens as an opportunity “to honor God…on the basketball court or from the football field. I got to be around some of the best kids in the area.”
In 2011, when Pearson decided to turn his volunteerism for Illowa Fellowship of Christian Athletes into a full-time job it meant he would leave behind the job he had really enjoyed at KWQC for 24 years. Knowing he would want to make a music piece to say good-bye to the Quad Cities, his news producer told him, “I can’t let you use any church music but you can use look on this website and type in whatever genre you want.” This was difficult for the faith-filled sportscaster but fortunately one of the genres was “Gospel.” Pearson chose Amazing Grace as the music for his video of “important people and amazing moments” from his 24 years at the station. The video was shown on the air in 2011 and again for the crowd at Peace Soup. When the video finished playing at the soup supper, Pearson said, “My news director came up to me after the broadcast and said, ‘See Dan, you didn’t have to use church music.’”
One Clinton couple attending Peace Soup, Annette and Bill Sikkema, had met the speaker through their son who had been interviewed by Pearson while running track at Prince of Peace School in Clinton and through their daughter who had been a part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Assumption High School. “Dan Pearson is a great role model for all our student athletes through Fellowship Christian Athletes. He inspires and touches many lives,” remarked Clinton resident Annette Sikkema. Annette and her husband Bill Sikkema attended Peace Soup to hear Pearson speak. “Dan interviewed our son Drew, who was in track at Prince of Peace when he was selected Male Athlete of the Assumption Invitational in 2007,” Bill Sikkema said. “Our daughter Alyssa met Dan when she joined FCA and attended their camp through Assumption High School. Both really strengthened her relationship with God.”
The Peace Soup series will continue next Tuesday, March 1. The series is free and open to the public and is held at St. Boniface Center, 2520 Pershing Blvd, Clinton, Iowa. No registration is required. Those attending may contribute to a free-will offering for the Benevolent Society of Clinton. Paper bowls are provided but attendees are welcome to bring a dish to help reduce waste. Details on the 2016 Peace Soup series are available at www.jcpop.org and at www.clintonfranciscans.com or by calling Prince of Peace Parish at 563-242-3311 or the Sisters of St. Francis, 563-242-7611.