Donnie Thurman, Jr. is a 29 year old native of Shelby, NC. Donnie is married to Rachin Thurman. Donnie has been in Cleveland County all of his life. He attended Crest High School and Gardner-Webb University.


At Gardner-Webb, Donnie majored in Sociology and Psychology. He also played football there, and he was a four-year letterman. Donnie was elected as the Freshman and Sophomore class presidents at GWU, and he was also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Ebony Student Association, Campus Ministry, and the Gospel Choir. Donnie is also one of the most prominent Professional Motivational Speakers Nationwide. Since 2004, he has spoken to over 850,000 youth nationwide for many different school, churches, and organizations.


Donnie was a member of Crest High School’s football program where he played under Roy Kirby. At Crest, the Chargers had a considerable amount of success. In Donnie’s four years of high school, his team had an amazing record of 45-4. Thurman was a team captain as a middle linebacker at Crest. In his last two years, Donnie was All-Conference performer. Donnie was recruited by schools such as; Harvard, Princeton, Wofford, Furman, etc.


During his junior year in high school, Donnie was encouraged to run for a district office in the Beta Club. His district encompassed about 7 schools, and Donnie had no experience campaigning. He was especially surprised when he was elected as his district Beta Club Vice-President. Donnie’s confidence grew when over 1,000 of his peers selected him as the NC State Beta Club Vice-President three months later. Perhaps Donnie’s most memorable achievement came when he went to Dallas, TX in June 2000 to campaign for the office of National Vice President of the Beta Club. Although there were clubs there who had much larger numbers than Donnie’s club, Donnie’s peers elected him as the National Vice President of the Beta Club. Through that whole experience Donnie learned that anything is possible if you just maintain a positive attitude.


Donnie has worked with Communities In Schools for the past 12 years. He has worked at several schools in Cleveland County including: Township Three, Union Elementary, Shelby Middle, Burns Middle, Crest Middle, and Crest High. In July 2013, Donnie accepted a position with Communities in Schools as the Mentor Coordinator. He is excited for the new opportunites to connect mentors and students in the Cleveland County community.


In February 2010, Donnie preached his initial sermon at Palmer Grove Baptist Church, and became a licensed minister. On June 28, 2012, Donnie was ordained as a preacher of the gospel by the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Association. He serves as the Youth Pastor at Palmer Grove Baptist Church in Kingstown, NC where James L. Smith has been the Pastor for over 30 years.


On March 2, 2013, Donnie married the love of his life Rachin Dowdy. Rachin is a native of Durham, NC where she works as a Bioprocess Technician. Rachin also uses her talents in ministry. She is a Sunday School teacher and a praise dance instructor; specifically in the area of Christian Mime. Rachin and her twin sister Jamie formed Todah Mime in 2007, and God is blessing them to share their gifts around the country. Donnie and Rachin continue to reside in North Carolina where they are excited about what each day of marriage has to bring.


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