When I started going to church at Hickory Ridge Baptist Church in Florence, MS in the early part of 2006, I had no idea who Billy Jack was, had never heard of him. But every Wednesday night Rodney Herndon would put Billy Jack McDaniel on the prayer list because he had been severely burned in an off shore accident.
In September of 2006, Billy Jack came to Hickory Ridge Baptist Church to speak. I was scheduled to work in the nursery that night, so I did not get to hear him speak. After the service, I did get a chance to talk with Billy Jack and his Dad for a little while. At that time he had not had a lot of the surgeries to replace the burned skin; so needless to say, he looked pretty bad.
I believe the next time he came to the church was in April of 2009. His sermon was very spirit driven and emotional for someone who had never heard him speak before, and that night a 15-year-old boy gave his life to the Lord. He told Billy Jack that he did not believe there was a God until he heard him speak and heard his story of what God had done for him. Sadly just one year later this young man lost him life in an automobile accident. But his family had the assurance of knowing that he had been saved the previous year and would spend eternity in Heaven with our Lord and Savior because of hearing Billy Jack preach.
In April of 2009 I injured my knee and started physical therapy at Florence Rehabilitation Center. One day while I was there Billy Jack came in for his therapy to stretch his burned skin. I did not talk to him that day, but I could tell that he was very depressed. His demeanor that day made such an impact on me that I thought about him all night and even called Rodney Herndon to see if he could check on him. When I went back to physical therapy on Wednesday Billy Jack was once again there. When he came in I told him that at Hickory Ridge Baptist Church we believed in giving hugs and I thought he needed a hug. From then on every time he came in I would give him a hug. Some days he was very cheerful and upbeat and everyone there enjoyed talking with him and hearing his humorous stories, but some days it was very evident that he was stressed out and depressed worrying about the upcoming trial for his accident. That summer I also started talking with his wife A’Leta and precious daughter Carney when they came to the gym.
Later in the summer of 2009, Billy Jack, Bro. Terry Fant, who is the pastor at Hickory Ridge Baptist Church, and Bro. Jimmy Arrington preached a revival at County Line Baptist Church in Copiah county. The night Billy Jack preached it was very evident how stressed out he was about the upcoming trial. That night he told a lot more details about the accident and the injuries he received than I had ever heard before. Thankfully, soon after that his case went to trial, and the judge ruled in his favor.
I thought I knew this family and the trials they were going through, but when I read Billy Jack and A’Leta’s book, Dead Man Breathing, I realized that I had no idea of all the things they had gone through, especially their precious daughter, Carney. This family has survived trials that one cannot even imagine, but through it all they have kept their faith in God. I would strongly advise everyone to buy a copy of the book or e-book and read about a living miracle, Billy Jack McDaniel, and his wife A’Leta who is the strongest woman I know. She refused to accept the doctor’s prognosis that Billy Jack would not survive his injuries from the fire and through her determination and faith in God she pulled him through it. The last time I heard him speak which was in 2012 he said that he is now able to do almost anything he wants to do on their farm in North Carolina where they now live.
It is a true story of a family that I am proud to call my friends. After all that they have gone through, they just want to help other burn victims and share with them the knowledge that they acquired throughout their ordeal and to share the story of their faith in God. If you don’t believe in God, after you read this book you will have no doubt that God does exist, and Billy Jack McDaniel & A’Leta McDaniel are living proof of his existence.
Sissy Miller Conn
I am going to tell all my friends about this! I have so much to be thankful for even though my life isn't perfect. My husband was dx w prostate cancer in november. Surgery was jan 21st. It is hard. For him. For me. Our kids. But, nothing like this. Not one thing like this. I am not near the woman, wife or Christian as aleta. But I sure want to be! My husband is young to have this dx and I encouraged him at 230am to read this book. He kinda grunted at me.... I think he can relate to some of the same issues that bjm faced and still faces. I don't care what kind of scars are outside, this family is beautiful to me. God is good, all the time! I can't tell you how much it touched me. I slept 3 hours, we did almost 500 prescriptions today, 10 plus hours on my feet and I wasn't even tired tonight! God works!
Tiffany Jo Roberts
I have only gotten it down loaded on my nook so far. I really love your story and have read it more than once. I shed tears because I am awe of you both.
Rebekah Rorie Sullivan
Dear Billy Jack, You don't know me but you might know my brother Lonnie Rorie. I was messaging to find out how I could get my mom, sister, and I a copy of your book. I remember Lonnie telling me about it when it happened. Prayers were going up every where. And continue to do so for you and your family as you guys have inspired so many people. Much love to you all.
Hey I don't think you know me personally but you spoke to my school in richland and I like too say I will never forget the words you spoke you make me think life isn't so bad and be glad for all the good things in my life. I'm privileged to know you and your story. Thank you
Emily A. Doney
I read this book on my way to go see my husband graduate basic training. Your story, and your strength and love took my breath away. i have already recommended your book to so many people.
You guys are an inspiration, and a beautiful family.
Thank you for sharing your story!
Amanda Rybicki Bockheim
I got your book last night and haven't been able to put it down! You and your family are truly amazing! I don't think I have had a dry eye since page one! Thank you for sharing your story. I have found a new love for my own oilfield man! God bless you and your family!
So I got your book the night you were at Faith Baptist Church, Ovett! I LOVED it! I'm not saying I loved the heartache and pain! I love the way it was written! I loved the way your wife is so strong in making sure you were taken care of! I can't imagine all the pain she went through, with Carney! She is what a wife and mother should be! The way your family stands strong in Faith and being grateful for the little things! Thank you for sharing your story and giving God all the glory!
My husband is an assistant driller for h & p rig 214, he brought me a copy of your book home.from their last drillers meeting. I am currently reading it now and through tears. The fear of every rig wife is not knowing if the day they leave for work is the last day you will get to say I Love You. But your book gives us strength to know that God has his hand on every one of our guys out there and keeps them safe. I feel safer knowing my husband has a "family" looking out for him on his rig. God Bless you and your family.
I truly loved your testimony this morning! You make me want to try harder to spread the word. God turns our tests into testimonies and trials into triumphs :). You and your family have a special place in my heart always! I hope yall can come back to Coila Baptist Church soon! My dad walked the aisle this morning, too. Today has been an amazing... blessing. I love that you give all the glory to God, even on tough days. You are a blessing to know and I cant wait to read your book! :) Have a blessed night and week coming up!
McDaniel family my name is Juan mejia I'm a Derrick man for helmerich an Payne I'm 22yrs old an I write u this letter to tell u I read your book an I'm moved by your story y'all are such a strong family I can't imagine the things billy went threw y'all r amazing an y'all r my heroes every time I go to the bored to get ready to trip pipe I think of what could happen when your way up above an I get a scare but u never know what could happen in the oil field I just expect the worst an hope for the best I heard about your story when I first got hired in August 11 2011 when I was in P.D.C training in Houston Tx an I was moved by it I recently found the book an read it such a good book y'all r truly a very strong family an Mr. billy jack u r really blessed an are such a strong person I hope to get a respond from you soon
First off i would like to thank ya'll for sharing your story! My husband is also a employ of H&P and we live in a small town of Waynesboro MS ( bet you know where that is) and i just wanted ya'll to know your both my heros! I read your book last night( yea it's one of them where you pick it up you can't put it down) I would cry a while and laugh a while but most important it made me relize that my life could change in a blink of a eye. A'Leta your a stong women, I hope nothing ever happens to my husband but if god see fit for it I hope i'm half the women you are and I mean that! I would love to see a movie of your story! I will follow your story from hear on out so keep me posted!
Read about your story. Bless you and those you help. Thank you.
- Ian Hynds
A'Leta, I have just finished the book. I was so inspired by it, I was reading parts of it to my husband. I only met you and Jack briefly but after reading the book I feel as if I have been with you on your journey. Your love for Jack and your faith in our risen Lord is overwhelming. I will pass the book on to my friends. May the peace of the Lord always be with you. Jane( I am the person that did your insurance exam at your home).
- Jane Hines
I went ahead and ordered 3 books thru Barnes&Noble . I have read the book and I think you are lucky to have such a great guy with so much love for you and for life. And also the way you took care of him, shows
how much you love him. My wife went thru a major brain stroke and we almost lost her, but she had the same will
to live, like your husband. I hope the good Lord gives your family many years together. God Bless"
- Pablo Talamantez