“Invest in what you know.” This is one of many valuable pieces of advice Diane Magnus learned from her daddy, Loyd Strickland. Sitting in the Chestnut Mountain office where Strickland beckoned Eddie Staub in 1983 to provide him some of the first seed money for Eagle Ranch, Diane shared a few fond memories of her dad and the Ranch. Joined by her husband, Doug Magnus, President and CEO of Conditioned Air Systems, the couple also reflected on their ongoing support.
What are some of your earliest memories of the Ranch?
Diane: We’ve known Eddie since he arrived in Georgia. I remember feeling like Eddie was my new brother. I had a lot of those because dad was involved in YoungLife. But he was the latest and greatest at the time. I remember dad would say, “There’s something about that boy.” And they really had zero in common, except for a love for the Lord.
Doug: I remember Eddie sitting in front of my office in his little blue car in 1983. He came in and said, ‘Doug we need you.’ And I said, ‘Eddie you don’t need me as bad as I need you.’ I was just getting into my business. We couldn’t do a lot to begin with, but over time we were able to do more. It’s been amazing to watch the Ranch grow and to watch our business grow. We’ve all just grown together in this community.
Diane: Eddie asked my dad to open doors. He was ready to do the work; he just didn’t know who he needed to see. So Daddy introduced Eddie to people like Sonny Ellis. Sonny’s stamp of approval opened doors because he didn’t give it to everyone. One meeting led to the next and set things off.
You have helped sponsor and host Ranch events, give regularly to our Honor & Memorial Program and provide ongoing support for the Ranch. Tell us more about your history of support and why you do it.
Doug: We’ve been providing heating and air conditioning since the start. In the early days, some of my guys would give up their Saturdays to get the work done. The first building we put a system into was the first administration office, which was also Eddie’s first real home on the Ranch.
Diane: I think with the passage of time, we’re even more excited than we were back then in the beginning. I first knew about the Ranch because of my dad and his support to help get it started. Then Doug got involved. Then we supported it together. And now we’re bringing our children into it. Our children love Eagle Ranch and support it too at their level. I think people support the Ranch because it makes you feel like it belongs to you – people feel like it’s theirs.
Doug: When Diane’s dad’s foundation closed out, we wanted to continue to support the Ranch and its maintenance, so we started a foundation of our own. The Ranch was the first line item for our foundation.
What do you tell others about Eagle Ranch?
Doug: I keep the book On Eagle’s Wings in the office, and I’ll give them to friends who I think it would mean something to, who might want to give their support.
Diane: It’s sort of like a parent talking about their child — that real love. Eagle Ranch has proven its commitment. Supporting it is a way to honor our faith. The Ranch wouldn’t be there without huge amounts of faith. But faith uses hands and feet too. It’s been a blessing to not only the children who have been there, but to this community. I still tell Eddie to this day that his dream, his vision, was small compared to God’s dream, His vision. There’s that saying: God can always dream a bigger dream than we can. I think He did. And now you see it. It’s just a special place.