John Kennedy (Kenny) Vaughan

    • Media Contact:
      Marcia Davis
    • Member Type(s): Expert
    • Title:Founder-CEO
    • Organization:Shields of Strength
    • Area of Expertise:Author, Athlete, Inspirational Speaker

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My Expertise

    My Expertise

      Area(s) of expertise: Author, Athlete, Inspirational Speaker
      Summary of expertise:
      On a hot summer’s day in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, two decades ago -- against all odds – Texas athlete Kenny Vaughan won the national water-ski jump championship. A torn ski boot would make a win on his crucial final jump in the competition an impossibility that only God could overcome. After 15 years of battling fear -- at one time quitting the sport entirely -- truly the greatest victory that day proved to be the spiritual battle he won through faith over his fear of failure in competition.

      From Vaughan’s victory of faith over fear and the scriptures written on his ski tow ropes to remind him of the power of God’s Word – grew a national and international outreach to millions: Shields of Strength.

      In the months following the summer of 1996 national championship win, Vaughan began to wear dog tags strung on ball chains. The dog tags had scriptures inscribed on them that had been written on his ski tow ropes, to remind him of what he learned about faith and fear the day he won the nationals. When someone would ask him about a necklace he was wearing, he would take the necklace off and give it to that person.

      Soon he was giving so many necklaces away, he decided it would be more economical to make them himself rather than to keep buying them. His brother named the dog tag necklaces Shields of Strength.

      Following 9/11, military chaplains and commanders being deployed to the Middle East began requesting Shields of Strength for the soldiers in their commands.
      God broadened the impact of Vaughn’s personal walk of faith to reach, initially, hundreds of thousands of men and women in the military, and through the years, millions of others across this country and beyond, who need God’s Word to help battle fear.

      In 2017, more than 4 million Shields of Strength are being worn by members of the military, athletes, military veterans, the chronically ill, young and older people from all walks of life who need the truth of God’s Word to overcome the challenges they face. More than 300,000 are being worn by members of the military.

      From dog tags, the designs of Shields of Strength have broadened. One thing hasn't changed: each piece of jewelry, apparel, fishing poles and other items has a scripture.

      In 2015, the company received requests from police officers to design an American Flag Thin Blue Line dog tag with the inscription from Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they will be called children of God."

      Later, the Thin Blue Line Flag Cross design was added to the line, engraved with Proverbs 30:5, "Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him."

      In 2016, following the police ambush killings in July, Point 27, the non profit that gives Shields of Strength, awarded the Dallas Police and Baton Rouge Police Departments Thin Blue Line Shields of Strength for every sworn officer, and Folded Flag Pendant Necklaces for family members of the fallen officers.

      Following Hurricane Harvey 2017, Vaughan and his brother Gabe rescued several hundred people from Harvey's floodwaters in Houston, Rose City, Lumberton, Vidal and Beaumont.

      Today, on his training lake near his home in Beaumont, Texas, Vaughan water skis with his family, teaching his two daughters and young son about his competition techniques and about his faith. He shares his faith on a global platform through the Shields of Strength, and just completed his second book, "The Right Fight: How To Live a Loving Life," about how to live a life driven by love, rather than a life driven by fear. He is a popular speaker for church, civic, community, military, athletic and school events.
      White paper/research:
      Instagram @johnkennedyvaughan

      Books/articles published:

      1996 National Water-Ski Jump Championship

      2004 National Water-Ski Jump Bronze

      2003 Vaughan was invited to speak at a Pentagon Breakfast-afterwards Secretary of the Army Less Brownlee presented Vaughan an American flag which was flown over Baghdad in Vaughan's honor.

      Prior media experience: .

      Educational background:
      Studied finance at Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas

      Licensed Minister

      Certified Crises Chaplain

      Attended seminary at East Texas Theological Seminary, Lone Star, Texas
      Encouraging with God's word: members of the military, military veterans, athletes, first responders, families of fallen soldiers and first responders, and anyone in a battle with fear and faith, and facing life's smallest and most overwhelming challenges.

      Helping others to understand the difference in love and fear;how to live a life driven by love, instead of a live driven by fear.

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