Connected at the Root

Why am I interested in Agape? My interest was born out of respect for a great man, his wife, my parents, and my wonderful wife who all put others’ needs first. I have experienced what good homes should be, and I want as many children as possible to have love and Godly homes too. My life has been so blessed by God. Let me share the story of how I became connected to Agape. 

Sam Canerday was a man I respected and grew to love.

I first met Sam when he and his family moved to Gadsden in the late 1950s. My heroes had been soldiers from WWII, and Sam had served in the Army in Europe during the Battle of the Bulge. When he returned home, he used the GI Bill to get a degree from Auburn, and later Peabody Teachers College (now Vanderbilt University).                                                         

Sam was a great leader and a better teacher,

and I learned and listened to him during my growing up years at church in Gadsden. Sam and his family moved away in 1964, and I went off to college and the Army.  I lost contact with him. After I returned from service, I ran into Sam at an Auburn ballgame. He invited me to Montgomery where I became reacquainted with his daughter, Mary Nell. Mary Nell and I have now been married fifty-one years.             

Agape had not been formed when we moved to Montgomery, but Sam and others wanted to start a Christian service to help young mothers and children in need. Agape was formed and Sam was the first board chair. Sam’s selfless service to the Church and Agape was so impressive, you could not help but see it.                                                                           

As Sam and his wife Mildred grew older, they needed help.

My wife, Mary Nell retired from teaching special education and took on that very difficult role. She demonstrated deep respect for her parents by seeing to their every need until they were gone. I had also seen my own parents do the same on our side of the family.                                          

So, why am I interested in Agape?

It is out of respect for a great man, and the examples from my family members who all put others first.  I want as many children as possible to experience this kind of love in Godly homes too. My life has been abundantly blessed by God. Agape is a way to pass it on.

Written by: David Parsons is a current member of Agape’s Board of Directors and son-in law of the first Agape Board Chair, Sam Cannerday.  David has a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a J.D. degree from Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law.  He spent 33 years as regulator of insurance for the State of Alabama Insurance Commissioner.  David is an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.  He has been married to his wife Mary Nell for 51 years.  They have two children and 3 wonderful grandchildren.  David also loves anything golf!

Pictured left to right: David, Mary Nell, Sam and Mildred


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