Emmanuel "Boogie" Feggins – 1989-1997
He loved to dance when he was a boy, so his cousin nicknamed him “Boogie.” People still fondly call him “Boogie” to this day, especially when they remember how his feet flew swiftly and gracefully across the high school football field as a star running back for the Palatka Panthers. Emmanuel “Boogie” Feggins was fast … fast enough to carry the ball to victory again and again back in the early 1990’s. He was fast and he was smart, too. He earned the respect of his team-mates, coaches, teachers and classmates by being a stand-up guy on and off the football field. It was no surprise to anyone but “Boogie” when he was crowned Homecoming King in his senior year of high school.
“I wasn’t supposed to even finish high school,” admits Boogie, who went on to two years of college after graduation. “If it hadn’t been for Rodeheaver Boys Ranch, I would probably have ended up dead, homeless or in jail.” Boogie and his brother, Freddie, were referred to Rodeheaver Boys Ranch when they got into a little trouble over in Interlachen and landed in the detention center. Born in Albany, Georgia, the brothers lost their mother when Boogie was two years old and Freddy just a tiny infant. With no father in sight, the boys had been passed from relative to relative until they arrived at the Ranch on November 29, 1989. “It’s a day I won’t forget,” says Boogie. “I was almost 15 years old and I was afraid. We had nothing – nothing. Ashley Jeter [then Ranch Director] took us under his wing. He scrounged us some clothes for school. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Everything’s going to be all right, son.’”
As it turned out, despite the many ongoing financial challenges faced by the Ranch, everything was all right – at least in Boogie’s eyes. “It was just like our own little city … with swimming, volleyball, basketball, study hall, and all the food we could eat!” Boogie was in 8th grade, having fallen behind in school, but with a regular schedule of study help, he soon caught up. The six years he spent at Rodeheaver, both on the Ranch and in a transitional home in town, Boogie credits as the most important of his life. “Rodeheaver Boys Ranch made me a better man,” he says. “Papa Jeter didn’t play … he was kind, but he expected us to learn the value of a dollar and be responsible for our actions. I learned to love God and be respectful of others.” Today, Emmanuel “Boogie” Feggins, still a football legend after 20 years, is a good citizen and a devoted husband and father. He and his best friend, Jason Claro (also a former ranch boy) have worked at Georgia Pacific in Palatka for nearly a decade. They are like brothers. They grew up together.
After nearly 65 years and nearly 3,000 boys, Rodeheaver Boys Ranch continues to build good brothers, sons, and fathers … fine men of God who are devoted to their families and communities. Today, there are boys at the Ranch who, like Boogie, came with nothing and need the reassurance that “Everything’s going to be all right, son.” They’ve never had a strong, loving, caring family in their young lives, but now they do. Won’t you be part of that family? Rodeheaver Boys Ranch needs your help to keep helping boys. Please consider being a benefactor to the Ranch. The boys will thank you for the rest of their lives. Your investment in their future will reap immeasurable benefits. Your donation can and will make a difference. .