‘RUFF’ leadership program gives a special Christmas gift

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MADISON, Ala.-- Ready YoUrself For the Future, or "RUFF", is a leadership program for young men here in North Alabama. On Saturday the boys of RUFF, along with the founder's wife, wanted to honor their own leader in a very special way.

Everyone knows the struggle of trying to find that perfect Christmas gift for a loved one. For Kelli Graham, the idea came to her in the form of a flag pole.

"I saw a flag one day and I thought, that's it! That's what I've got to do, he needs to be honored, he needs to know how much he means to the boys," she said.

Her husband Anthony Graham is the founder of RUFF. He is also a U.S Air Force veteran. Anthony has always wanted a flag pole in his yard, and Saturday Kelli and the boys of RUFF surprised him with a special dedication ceremony.

Kelli Graham said one of the biggest gifts you can give at Christmas time is letting your family know how much they mean to you, and that's what she hoped she did for Anthony.

For his part Anthony said the whole thing was a humbling experience. It just reinforced what he's trying to teach his boys

"It just brings everything together, what the program actually means, it's all about family," he said.

And for the boys of RUFF it's more than just a program. It's a family, and family lasts forever.

"I don't have a father, but then when Anthony came into my life it felt like he was my father, and all these RUFF boys feel like these are my brothers," said ninth grader Myles McMillan.