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Brawn used for anti-bullying message at Carroll Fowler
power team
Motivational speaker and strong man Andy Gavin lifts Jennifer Sasser (left) and Neveah Walters during a demonstration of his strength at Carroll Fowler Elementary School. He later bent the same bar between his teeth. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Strong man Andy Gavin, billing himself as “the Guardian,” used feats of strength to motivate students of Carroll Fowler Elementary School to be more positive and geared toward success at two Friday morning assemblies.

Gavin is part of the Florida-based Omega-Man & Friends program which motivates students to refrain from bullying and urging respect of others. A former All-State baseball player in high school who played a year of semi-pro baseball, Gavin urged the students to engage in positive behaviors like setting goals, being responsible and self-controlled, showing respect to everyone, and believing in one’s self. He also suggested that kids can be “heroes” by not bullying, stealing, back-talking, cheating, lying or calling others names.

The former North American strongman competitor who has spoken to over 1,500 schools bent a steel bar between his teeth, broke a baseball hat against his thigh and ripped up a phone book which he represented as the “Book of Bad Choices.”

The backdrop to the show included a graphic detailing HERO as an acrostic for “Helping Everyone Respect Others.”

“The earlier in life we learn to respect everybody that we come into contact with, we set ourselves up on a fast track to reach any goal or dream we may have in our heart,” Gavin told the students. “In life there’s going to be some people that look different from you. There’s going to be people sometimes that talk different from you. Honestly, sometimes there’s going to be some people who smell different than you, right? But we always respect everybody that we meet and when we do that we activate that superhero power.”

Andy Gavin and bat
Andy Gavin gets Frank Ramos to try breaking a bat at Carroll Fowler Elementary School. Gavin later accomplished the feat. - photo by Jeff Benziger