“Eddie’s nose was buried inside the St. Francis Church bulletin, so deep that he didn’t notice her at first . . . Then he saw her, a dark-haired girl poised in silent prayer within the stark confines of her wheelchair . . . He felt so deeply sorry for the girl. “Why?” he thought to himself. “She’s so young. Too young. How could anyone – especially a child – deserve to go through life like that?” . . . Later that night, when Eddie retired to his bedroom, he still had not shaken his anguish . . . ‘Lord, please help that little girl I saw today at mass,’ he prayed silently in the darkness of his room. ‘Help make her life a little better somehow.’
– Excerpt from “On Eagle’s Wings”
It started with a guileless teen’s observation one day in church. As that teen grew into a man, he saw that children faced many challenges in their lives. He became particularly burdened by children who were struggling with their families. He believed there had to be a way to help make their lives better. So he began a journey that led him from Birmingham, Alabama to the Chestnut Mountain community of Flowery Branch.
Eagle Ranch Founder and Executive Director Eddie Staub made headlines in the early 1980s as an ambitious young man attempting to fund and establish a home for struggling boys. Because of its extraordinary formation and early growth, the Ranch was called “the miracle on Chestnut Mountain” by CNN television during the initial phases of construction and development.
From the opening of its first home in 1985, Eagle Ranch has grown well beyond one person with a dream. Today, it is a community that helps thousands of boys, girls and their family members. The 315-acre wooded campus features neighborhood-style residential homes for children, a SACS-accredited school, a counseling department, a chapel, and facilities for meetings and recreation. It is one of the nation’s most progressive therapeutic Christian programs for children in crisis, and the largest children’s residential program in Northeast Georgia.