When Roy Norman takes a Royal Ambassadors group to Latham Springs Camp this summer—as he has every year since 1969—his son, Daniel, will work with him as a certified safety officer on the rifle range.
After a serious accident less than a year ago, his son and the rest of his family wondered if Norman ever would speak and walk again, much less direct a missions-oriented summer camp for boys.
After a 20-year career as a special education teacher, Norman retired and opened a lawn care business. One day last spring, the garden tractor he was driving flipped and rolled, pinning him beneath it.
Norman sustained traumatic brain injury and spent several weeks in a coma. Royal Ambassador leaders around the state prayed for his recovery.
Recently, Norman joined many of those RA leaders for an all-day training event at the TBM Dixon Missions Equipping Center in east Dallas.
A slightly halting speech and gait—and no memory of long stretches of time last year—provide evidence of Norman’s injury, but they do not diminish his enthusiasm for the RA program.
“I’ve never questioned that it’s what God wants me to do,” he said.
Norman began working with RAs at First Baptist Church in Bellmead when he was a teenager. As an Eagle Scout, Norman realized he already possessed the skills to teach campcraft to younger boys.
“Once I was able to see how RAs enabled us to put spiritual applications with everything we did, it sold me,” he said.
As an adult, he continued to lead the RA group at Timber Crest Baptist Church in Waco, even before his son was born.
“Since our girls came along first, some people asked why I worked with RAs. I told them the boys needed what I was doing, and I intended to train them right, even if it ended up that I was training a future son-in-law instead of a son,” he recalled.
Later, Daniel began tagging along to RA events even before he was old enough to participate.
“I found my faith at an RA camp when I was 8 years old,” he recalled. “Latham Springs is a spiritual place to me. I feel overwhelmed with the Holy Spirit just being there.”
As a teenager, Daniel served four years on the RA state staff.
For the Normans, the RA program has become more than just a family tradition—but not less than one. When Daniel and his wife, Carrie, were expecting their firstborn child, they did not want to reveal the baby’s gender until after the birth.
“When Daniel came out to the waiting room at the hospital,” his father recalled, “he came over to me and said, ‘Dad, we have a little RA.’”