Randall Murphree | AFA Journal Editor
Tony Izzi avoids publicity and shies away from the spotlight. The
Shelby, North Carolina, businessman impresses others with his quiet
nature, his sense of conviction and his humility. By mans
standards, one might not judge him a leader. Not aggressive enough.
Not a mover and a shaker.
However, the truth of Scripture is exemplified in Tony Izzi: The
Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the
outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel
16:7). When Tony read in the AFA Journal about a campaign
to post the national motto in classrooms across the country, he
liked the idea. He thought it was a project he could get behind.
As usual, he didnt set out to lead a new campaign. That part
When he first read about the In God We Trust poster
project, he was busy with other community projects, so he put the
poster idea aside. But it stayed in the back of his mind. It wasnt
long before he began making plans for action.
First, Tony considered the scope of the project and concluded it
wouldnt be too much to take on all the schools in Cleveland
County the county school system plus Shelby and Kings
Mountain city systems. The second concern was how to get permission
from schools. Tony compiled packets including articles from the
AFA Journal and other information about the In God
We Trust project. He secured appointments with the proper
authorities, presented the project, and left each with an information
We got permission from those three school districts to start
with, says Tony. Once the project was under way, he found
logical extensions into other institutions in the county. Izzi continues:
Then we worked with a community college to get permission
there and with Gardner Webb University to get permission there.
Cleveland Community College is in Shelby and Gardner Webb, a Southern
Baptist school, is in Boiling Springs.
But Tony didnt stop there. He saw one more logical extension
of the county-wide project. We started working with municipalities
in Cleveland County, and got permission from them. The total
count schools plus county and city offices required
more than 1,600 In God We Trust posters.
Early on, Tony made the decision not to seek media coverage. Not
only is that his personal style, but he didnt want the project
to become a contentious matter in the community. With permissions
granted, Tony began purchasing posters and getting them framed.
Once the posters were in hand, a church group and other volunteers
joined the project.
The Lafayette Street United Methodist Church got them framed
in one afternoon, Tony says. Other individuals and groups
such as the Shelby and Kings Mountain Rotary Clubs made contributions.
Tony took care of delivering posters to schools and offices where
they would be displayed.
As far as I know, he says, weve got them
in all the classrooms in Cleveland County. I know the teachers appreciate
it, because the superintendents gotten a lot of calls and
E-mails and things like that. Ive had people who knew I was
involved tell me how much it meant to them.
Response has been so positive that Tony hopes to be a catalyst for
the project in neighboring counties. Right next door, between Shelby
and Charlotte, is Gaston County, one of the states larger
Im [hoping to] meet with the superintendent there and
see if we can get the same thing done. I noticed in the Journal
that a group of ladies had put up 77 over there already. Those
posters were to be displayed in schools, but not provided for every
classroom. Tony estimates he would need twice the number of posters
he used in Cleveland County.
Our future goal is to get the state of North Carolina to pass
a law requiring the posters in each classroom, Tony says.
He has already begun contacts with state legislators and other civic
leaders, to seek support. Quietly, of course. Low-key. Thats
Tony Izzis style.