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Effingham Magazine

Fitness, Fellowship & Faith of Effingham: Iron Sharpens Iron

Fitness, Fellowship & Faith of Effingham: Iron Sharpens Iron

Effingham F3 The Effingham Fitness, Fellowship and Faith(F3) group began on April 9, 2021. Known as “The Foundry”—a name which honors the rich history of Effingham’s blacksmith and metal works industries—the group meets at the Clarence Morgan Complex between Rincon and Springfield. Workouts commence on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 5:30 a.m. and end at 6:15 a.m. The group shares in the common F3 goal: to “plant, grow and serve small workout groups for men for the invigoration of male community leadership.”

Scott “Noodles” Howard

Scott Howard has been a part of the Effingham F3 team since it began. Scott, a pastor at Eldora Baptist Church, has been employed at the Colonial Group for nearly 25 years.

The married father of two and grandfather of six learned about the F3 organization from his twin brother Doug “Dirty Pipes” Howard, whose F3 nickname is fitting since he is a professional plumber. Scott experienced his first F3 workout while visiting Doug, a member of the Johnson County F3 group in North Carolina. He then found the Pooler F3 group and joined their workouts in May 2018; he later joined Effingham F3 when it began.

“I’m still going strong today, not because of the workouts, but because of the family of brothers I have who encourage me,” he says. Scott’s F3 nickname is “Noodles”—given to him because he despises pasta.

Further, the U.S. Army veteran has noticed that many of the principles and values incorporated during his military career go hand-in-hand with those emphasized by F3.

“There are several former military veterans that are part of F3. It brings back that lifestyle we knew and loved—the brotherly competition and encouragement and the camaraderie formed with those that pushed you to be physically and mentally stronger and held you accountable. I have military brothers from long ago that I’ll never forget, and my F3 brothers now are no different,” Scott says.

Whether hiking with heavy rucksacks, running or strength training, the high-endurance, boot-camp style workouts are familiar to all the veterans.

Scott knows that men benefit from forming strong, meaningful male bonds—those solid relationships that are edifying to their lives. He appreciates the group of men he has come to know, respect and love.

“They are my extended family. They challenge me to keep getting stronger and push me to be my best. All that bleeds into my family, work, community and church life. Men shoulder heavy burdens in life as fathers and leaders. Our F3 brothers are there to call us out when we have done wrong and encourage us when we are doing right,” Scott says.

Wes “Falcon 9” Harper

Wes Harper has been a committed F3 member for about a year. He is a distribution channel manager and is married with two daughters. He became familiar with F3 after agreeing to attend a workout following his loss in a push-up challenge to one of his current F3 brothers, Brian “Quikrete” Logan.

And how did Wes “Falcon 9,” happen to get one of the coolest F3 nicknames around?

“I was lucky. On my first day, Elon Musk happened to launch a rocket,” he jokes.

As a husband, father and business professional, Wes has found that F3 has positively impacted nearly every facet of his life.

“I’m around guys like me—those with a wife and family. Life has challenges. You’re able to work through it together—you push them, and they push you. There’s a big accountability factor to it. You start naturally applying that accountability in other places in your life,” he says.

Many of the guys pride themselves in stepping up as beacons of motivation, encouragement and help.

“There’s a lot of leaders in our group—natural leaders. They do a good job of pushing everyone—not leaving anyone behind,” Wes says.

Wes is happy to have a band of brothers that push him to go above and beyond. For instance, he has never been big on running; however, with the support and encouragement from his team, even running becomes a rewarding task.

“Accountability is where I hang my hat. I never regret working out with the group,” he says.

Patrick “Hobby Lobby” O’Tuel

Patrick O’Tuel, a church planter for Connection Church, is married with four children. He began working out with the Pooler F3 group over two years ago. “Hobby Lobby” was born after the group found that he has always enjoyed doing arts and crafts with his kids.

Patrick takes pride in his F3 family. He knows that it is a benefit and privilege to have other men to relate to.

“No man is an island. We shouldn’t live to ourselves. We need other brothers in our lives that say, ‘Man, I’m going through that, too; we can get through it together,’” Patrick says.

F3 is about men assuming their rightful place in their families and communities – being the positive difference they want to see in the world.

“We give everyone that push of encouragement to be the leader God wants them to be —the husbands and dads our community needs. At the end of the day, we need other men to push us out of our comfort zones or the funks we get in. Our boys need men to teach them how to be a man,” Patrick says.

Assets to Their Community

The men of Effingham F3 have strived to be assets to their community, whether aiding in the tornado disaster relief in Richmond Hill, supporting the Wounded Warrior cause or raising funds for various nonprofits. They are currently looking forward to the 5k/10k Treutlen House Run on August 13. The Treutlen House “provides residential services to boys ages 10-21 that are in the Georgia Foster Care System.”

“It’s about doing for others and bringing back the idea of servanthood to male leadership,” Patrick says.

Iron sharpens iron, and the men on the Effingham F3 team have built a remarkable camaraderie and brotherhood by doing just that—sharpening each other.

For more information on the Effingham F3 group, contact Scott Howard at [email protected] or call (912) 658-0116.