Former Wolverine's basketball player Austin Hatch  survived two plane crashes, which gives him a unique take on “Faith, Hope and Optimism".  That'll be Austin's message as he speaks at the upcoming Battle Creek Community Prayer Breakfast.

This year's event will be held from 7:25 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 7, at the Kellogg Arena in downtown Battle Creek.

“We think this is a pivotal moment for our community, and who better than God's people to lead with faith, hope and optimism?” said Mark Crawford. He and his wife, Sheila, are co-chairs of this year’s Breakfast.

The Battle Creek Community Prayer Breakfast seeks to unite our community for prayer and inspiration as an expression of common faith and purpose in God.  Each year, dozens of community volunteers plan and carry out the Breakfast, begun in 1982 by Dr. Russell Mawby, Dr.Paul Gieser, and Colonel Ben Gomez, as they expanded the Federal Center’s employee Prayer Breakfast to include the greater Battle Creek area.
Modeled after the National Prayer Breakfast – yet with a local focus – the Battle Creek Community Prayer Breakfast has consistently drawn nearly 1,000 participants, including several hundred youth who attend free, thanks to generous donors.

This year’s Breakfast speaker, Austin Hatch, survived two plane crashes. The first claimed the lives of his mother, sister and brother; the second killed his father and “second mother.” Austin suffered severe injuries in that crash and was in a medically induced coma for two months. After he woke up, Austin had to relearn how to talk, eat, and walk, yet he worked hard to make a solid comeback.

“If anyone has the right to say, ‘Why me?’ then I do,” Hatch told the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press in 2017. “But that doesn’t honor God. That doesn’t honor my family. You can’t change your past, but you can shape your future.”
He persevered to fulfill his dream of playing basketball at the University of Michigan, which had offered him a full scholarship to play just before the second crash. After his time on the court, Austin served the team as an undergraduate assistant coach, helping motivate the Wolverines all the way to the Final Four in 2018.  He graduated from U of M last spring and married his sweetheart, Abigail, in the summer.


Numerous media outlets, including The Athletic, NBC Nightly News, People Magazine and ESPN have told Austin’s miraculous story.  “His story has inspired folks nationwide, and he’s a perfect fit for our moment in Battle Creek,” Sheila Crawford said. “Faced with an incredible challenge, he responded with determination, discipline, optimism – and most of all a faith that God is good. I love his reflection that his ‘life has been good, and I’ve had two bad days.’’’

To help underwrite the Prayer Breakfast with a tax-deductible gift – which will assist area high school students to attend at no cost – please send a donation payable to BCCF/Community Prayer Breakfast, 32 W. Michigan Ave, Suite 1, Battle Creek, MI, 49017, or donate online at
Donors who give $100 or more will receive two tickets to a reception with Austin Hatch on May 6 at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information, call 269-969-2120.

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