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Richard Headrick at the premiere of his movie “Last Ounce of Courage” in September 2012.

Richard Headrick, the owner of Headrick Signs and the creator of Mission at the Cross and the Hellfighters Ministry, died Monday, October 5, one day shy of his 78th birthday.

Headrick has battled cancer for the past several years and, according to a report, was hospitalized in late September.

Headrick was an incredible man of faith. The number of lives he has touched will never be known.

“Richard Headrick’s passing today has reverberated around the world, leaving a wake of deep sadness and sorrow,” said Lance Chancellor, a good friend, and former employee. “An iconic Laurel businessman who transformed the outdoor advertising and signage industry, Richard’s impact on the many varied business interests that he and his lovely wife Gina operated was legendary. But undoubtedly his greatest impact was felt in the lives of those to whom he shared the Gospel of Christ.”

Headrick is known throughout the country as the Rhino man. He and his wife Gina, a.k.a. Sunshine, have traveled all over the country, sharing their “Bum Thing” ministry with churches throughout the Christian world.

The Headricks would spend weekends sleeping on church lawns, parking lots, and cemeteries throughout the country dressed in tattered and smelly clothes, giving the appearance of two homeless people.

During the first 15 years, Gina kept a journal of their experience and how they were treated as the members entered their church on Sunday morning for Sunday school and Sunday worship services. With the encouragement from the many people whose lives they touched through their “Bum Thing” ministry, the Headricks turned Gina’s journal into the book, “America’s Churches Through The Eyes Of A Bum,” which was published in 2012.

Explaining the purpose of their ministry in the book, Richard Headrick wrote, “Our mission as bums is to check the spiritual condition of the membership of our “target church” as they arrive for Sunday School and worship service on Sunday morning. After the church crowd has had the opportunity to reach out to us before the Sunday morning service, to everyone’s surprise, I wind up in the pulpit and deliver a message on “Christian Kindness”!”

The Headricks also wrote and produced the movie, “The Last Ounce of Courage,” which hit the movie theaters across the country in September of 2012.

According to company information, Richard found a niche for his sign company in 1999 when the company was commissioned by Dr. Adriane Rogers, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN, to construct what was then the tallest trio of Crosses in North America. Since then, there are crosses at churches around the United States and Central America, and the company is considered the leader and premier manufacturer of majestic crosses.

When doing their “Bum Ministry,” many people would share with the Headricks their desire to see a shelter of some sort for people who had lost their home and family due to addiction, or those who were released from prison with nowhere to go. God gave Richard a vision for a ministry named “Mission at the Cross” – a homeless shelter with a huge, lighted cross standing next to the building that would be the beacon for those to seek help at the foot of the cross. That cross is easily seen from Interstate 59 today. And, Hellfighters International, which provides work for those fighting to change their lives, has expanded into a colossal Jeep dealership in addition to the motorcycle resales.

“From the doctors, nurses, and medical staffs at every juncture along his last days on earth to the downtrodden, homeless drug addict that he witnessed to on the streets, Richard was faithful to point them to Jesus and to help guide them along the pathway to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ,” said Chancellor. “The world today is a lesser place without Richard Headrick. Heaven’s gain is surely our great loss. Through our tears, we shall celebrate his incredible life and find comfort in the fact that his faith is now his sight. Today, Richard Headrick met Jesus and heard the words ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant.’Farewell Richard, my brother in Christ, and those of us in Christ shall see you again one day soon at that appointed hour.”

Rest in peace Richard Headrick. Thanks for all you’ve done.

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