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Campus Life

Security Lieutenant Edlao Finds Community and Faith on the Pickleball Court 

The snap of pickleball paddles is not the first sound you’d associate with campus security, yet for Jacy Edlao, a respected Lipscomb security officer, it’s the sound of community, faith, and connection. Born in Hawaii and drawn to Tennessee by a divine call, it was on Lipscomb’s pickleball courts where Edlao’s passion for service found an unexpected yet fitting arena. 

Edlao was born in Hawaii when he felt the Lord calling him to move to Tennessee. He sold a pest control company that he owned just before Covid began and left for Tennessee in 2021.  

Edlao has a passion for law enforcement work and decided on a career in college security to connect with a youthful community while pursuing his calling. “I did high school ministry in Hawaii, and young adult ministry, so I thought, it’s perfect. It’s a win-win”, Edlao said. He began working at Lipscomb in June of 2023. 

Lieutenant Edlao in his home state of Hawaii

Edlao is committed to both keeping the Lipscomb community safe and being a part of its thriving community. Edlao has nothing but high praise for the environment at Lipscomb. “The Christ centered community, that’s from the head down– living it out and practicing it. It’s like we’re at a big church camp”, said Edlao. “For me as a man of faith it’s encouraging, it’s edifying, it’s a great place to work and I love serving it.”  

Edlao recognizes the effect that getting to know people through his work as a security officer. “Once you get to meet everyone, it’s like no one’s a stranger, we’re all like one big family,” he says. “And that means if anyone ever needs something from my department, I’m a friendly face that people feel comfortable coming to to handle situations that can be very personal. I wanna be that so we can serve the community better.”  

Picture of a Lipscomb Security vehicle

Besides being a part of the security team, Edlao attends the Vine at Nine–one of Lipscomb’s night chapels, goes to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings, meets with students one-on-one to catch up or pray over them, and plays pickleball with the Lipscomb Pickleball club and the intramural sport.  

Edlao met Reece Collie, the president of the Lipscomb Pickleball Club, while playing in the SAC. Reece Collie is a senior entrepreneurship major from Asheville, North Carolina. He remembers the first-time meeting Lieutenant Edlao playing pickleball. “He pulled up and saw us playing pickleball, he pulls his paddle out of his bag that he just had for the day and said, ‘Yo can I come play with you?’ and so he comes and was easily the best player at the time,” Collie noted.  

“I’d say Jacy is one of the most joyfully contagious people you’ll ever meet. He just brings that joy to pickleball as well. He’s very encouraging to new players, invites people to come play and just makes it a good time in general,” thought Collie. 

Edlao and Collie have become close and consistently play as a pickleball duo. They competed in two tournaments at Lipscomb, winning one.    

Collie and Edlao hoist a trophy after winning the Lipscomb Pickleball tournament

Collie thinks we can all learn something from Edlao’s character. “Students can see what it looks to be an engaged member of the community and [someone] who cares about everyone around you. Staff can see someone who’s gone above and beyond to be present in students’ lives.” 

Jacy Edlao has made a significant impact on Reece Collie and many other students. He hopes to continue doing so, while sharing his faith along the way. 

“I feel like it’s part of my greater mission. Everything I do is for the glory of God. I left all that I had, came here to share the gospel, and live for Christ; that’s my ultimate goal,” Edlao says. “I got one life to live. My goal is to make Christ known, share his good news, love people, love God. I’m not perfect, but… we keep it real, bro!”