Actor, director and author Kevin Sorbo focused on faith, freedom and hope in his keynote address to more than 500 attendees at Hannibal-LaGrange University’s Annual Booster Banquet Nov. 20 in the Mabee Sports Complex, according to a news release.
“I was a broken man,” Sorbo said. “But I have been revived, redeemed and most certainly I have been reborn. I have been reborn through faith and the hope that comes from that faith.”
His testimony included the story of his battle back from three strokes in 1997, the background for his book True Strength. Sorbo described his journey from his TV portrayal of Hercules — the strongest man in the world — to his realization that he was just a mere mortal.
“When those strokes hit me, I went from what I thought was a physical specimen to a guy who couldn’t even stand up without falling down,” he said. “My life changed forever in the snap of a finger, or the crack of a neck, in my case. This is where faith and hope come in.”
He described how he spent several months learning how to balance and walk again. He suffered panic and anxiety attacks, and experienced headaches and nausea. The actor had a constant sensation of feeling like he was falling backwards.
But after four months, both he and the producers of “Hercules” wanted to get back to shooting the show. “Work was all I really knew and I loved it. I needed it,” he said.
At first he could only work for an hour; the writers wrote around him based on how much he could do. After eight months he was five hours a day. “This is when I told myself, ‘there is no way I’m going to live my life like this…. I’ve got to push myself harder,’ so I prayed,” he said.
His wife was his biggest champion, he said. “She saw recovery in me when I couldn’t. She had faith in a loving Creator when mine faltered….”
The speaker praised Hannibal-LaGrange University.
“Hope — it is the Christian message, is it not? And this is the message of Hannibal-LaGrange University, is it not?
By choosing a Christian education for their children, parents “are giving them a fighting chance to grasp their faith, to claim a moral standing and to become people that we all can admire,” he explained.