Ronnie's Story

faith, family, music & a good time

THE STORY (UPdated 6/29/2023)



Born and raised in Eclectic, Alabama, Ronnie is the youngest of three children. They didn’t have much growing up but what they did have was a love for the Lord. This would really come in handy later in life. He started playing the piano and singing at a very early age and was the proverbial “class clown” in school. Lucky for those who know him, this has not changed. He was born to entertain, whether it’s playing the piano and singing with the “Yard Dogs,” or simply making people laugh. He attended Troy University for three semesters where at least 100 people would gather at the fraternity house to hear the Elton John of their generation. He met and married our wonderful mother, Sandy, at age 21, who ultimately opened the door to the insurance industry for him. He would eventually open his own agency in 1999 and has achieved countless awards (and still counting) throughout his career. They now have two kids and six grandkids who keep them quite busy.

His love for the Lord and his family is unparalleled, and it is no secret that he is quite literally the best person we know. He stores gift cards in his car should he stumble upon someone in need. When we send him a story of someone who is going through a difficult time, he immediately asks for their go fund me page.



In June 2021 he noticed he was having difficulty with his speech. Initially, this was happening on and off but over time it steadily got worse. After seeing his local neurologist, and ruling out about a dozen potential causes, they decided the best next step would be to see an ALS specialist in Birmingham. A few months later, they would travel to UAB to do just that. In November 2021, he was told he had “possible ALS.” He was still running 6 miles, 4 days a week.

They later decided to visit Emory to get a second opinion. On April 12, 2022, it was confirmed. Our dad has ALS. This day, and his diagnosis, would ultimately change the trajectory of our lives.

Moments after the doctor confirmed that it is, in fact, ALS, he was asked if he would be willing to participate in any clinical trials in hopes of one day finding a cure. Without skipping a beat, he said, “If I’m going down then I want to help someone in the process.” That is who our dad is.

ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in which a person’s brain loses connection with the muscles. This leaves them unable to walk, talk, and eventually breathe. It is one of the most devastating diseases a person can have. He is losing his ability to talk, and eating is becoming more and more difficult. The guy who was once playing the piano and singing Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ at a fraternity house, is now unable to sing at all. But he is not going down without a fight. If you can believe it, he is still running 3-4 miles, 4 days a week.

His cousin, Mark Shaw, decided to combine two of Ronnie’s passions in life – running and fellowship with people. So, on September 23rd we will all come together and Run with Ronnie. We can’t think of a better way to honor our dad and raise money to end this terrible disease.

So…. will you Run with Ronnie?



My name is Kristen, and I am Ronnie’s youngest daughter.  Last year I was given the honor of writing his story for the website. A year has passed, and a few things have changed, so I thought I would add to the above with some updates.


Towards the end of 2022 his swallowing, and ability to eat, became increasingly worse. He ultimately decided it was in his best interest to proceed with getting a PEG tube. On April 4th him and my mom travelled to UAB where he would have the tube inserted. He is now solely eating via PEG tube about 5x a day. The tube has allowed his body to get the nutrients that it needs (i.e., requires), while also slowing down his weight loss… which is great!


This time last year he was still running 3-4 miles, 4 days a week. Sadly, he is no longer able to run. The last time he ran was a few days prior to the PEG tube procedure. He goes on a 1mi walk around the neighborhood but at this point that is about all his body will allow him to do.


Although he can no longer physically run, he continues to show up every single day and ‘run with perseverance the race marked out for him, fixing his eyes on Jesus.’ (Hebrews 12:1-2) He cannot talk but is still leading more people to Jesus than some do in an entire lifetime. We can’t wait to see you on September 23. Thank you for your continued prayers… they have carried us through some of our darkest days.  



“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 15-18

on the field - off the record

"Ronnie tried to sell Ted Turner a policy just before we walked on the field! If the PA guy hadn’t of introduced us early, I believe Ted was about to sign!"

- Glenn Arnette

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