Chosen, Adopted and Loved... Night to Shine King Benny's Story

February 7th, 2018

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On one night, February 9, 2018, 90,000 people with special needs all over the world will be celebrated, cheered for and loved on at Night to Shine. Each of our guests will be crowned king or queen because that is how God sees them every single day of their lives. Benny was one of our incredible honored guests last year. Although abandoned as an infant, he was later chosen, adopted and loved. Here is Benny’s story…

When Benny was three months old he was left in a box in a building near the University of Southern Mississippi campus. At the time, a man named Milton was on the administration team serving as an acting department chair for education. Milton found Benny and notified local officials. They informed him that they would relocate Benny to a foster home agency in hopes that someone would adopt him. Milton continued to check in on Benny while he was at the agency. Seven months passed and Benny was still at the home with no families interested in fostering or adopting him. Milton and his wife had three kids at home already but realized God had put Benny in that particular building for a reason, so they decided to adopt him. Milton said, “Benny was put in my life so I could have someone to love me and for me to show him that someone loves him too."

Benny is now 40 years old and lives in a group home. He is non-verbal and communicates through gestures and eye contact. Milton goes and sees Benny every afternoon and they go to church together every Saturday and Sunday. Benny loves sports, fishing and the outdoors. He is currently on a softball team for individuals for special needs and loves every second of it.

For Night to Shine 2017 Benny’s dad, Milton, drove over 6 hours from Brandon, Mississippi, to First Baptist Atlanta for Benny to attend their prom. It was difficult for Milton to leave Benny with a buddy for his special night. Since his wife, Benny’s mother, passed away eight years ago, Milton has felt full responsibility to watch over Benny and could not remember the last time that he left his side away from home.

While at Night to Shine, Benny carried his football with him, an object that makes him feel safe when he is in new environments. Benny was having more fun than ever getting to know his buddy and doing all the activities with her.

Benny is looking forward to Night to Shine 2018… limo rides, shoe shining, a red carpet greeting, lots of dancing and, of course, being crowned king.

So, why do we do Night to Shine? It’s for the honored guests like Benny to know that they have a purpose, that they are loved for who they are, created in God’s image. It’s for the parents and caregivers to feel confident that their loved one is in good hands and get special treatment themselves for once. It’s for the volunteers to see, experience, and be changed. It’s for God… may everything that we do point others to Him!

To help us change lives through Night to Shine, would you consider donating? A $35 gift provides one special night that might forever change a person’s life.

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