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Rock Hero: Daniel Makis - May 2011
By Dave Franco

Daniel Makis was born to Christian parents in 1973 in El Cajon, California.

Their happy family was made up of mom, dad, two older siblings and Daniel. Three years later, Daniel’s younger brother was born.

Everything was going along smoothly until 1982, when Daniel’s mom began showing signs of having a nervous breakdown—it was an event that would change the trajectory of Daniel’s life. With his mom debilitated by her condition, his father was forced into a role that did not fit him. He was emotionally closed off and ultimately ill-equipped for the responsibility of primary caregiver. He receded from his children.

The kids were left without a present dad or mom. Daniel, seeing his brother’s need for a parent simply reacted instinctively. He stepped up and raised his brother himself, caring for him from the time his brother was just 10 and Daniel was 13.

It would seem that a young man like that might be pressed to his limits to have to be the primary caregiver to his brother. But more would be asked of him.

In 1989, his dad was laid off, their house was foreclosed upon and the cupboards were empty. When neighbors saw the Makis’ need, they brought over a meal. Daniel was grateful but filled with shame and therefore resolute—he wasn’t going to let that happen again. Daniel walked away from his adolescence and went to work so he could provide food for the family.

Their struggles were further amplified when his older siblings started taking drugs. He recalls the house being filled with screaming and crying night after night as his mom and dad fought with their older kids for control of their crumbling household.

The situation got worse when Daniel’s younger brother began taking meth and became dangerous. Daniel protected his mom and dad by putting his brother in control holds and matching strength with the meth that was coursing through his brother’s veins. Sometimes he would have to fight the meth for hours—but God empowered and protected Daniel and helped him shield his parents.

At 21, he began a career in law enforcement. It was a fitting pursuit considering all the experience he had helping and protecting others. Daniel achieved awards and commendations along the way.

The babies love being in Daniel’s strong and protective arms. And the older kids can’t get enough of Daniel’s firm but playful way.

More than a decade later, while attending the Rock in 2007, there was an appeal to the congregation for help in the nursery. To the surprise of the Pebbles staff, the burly officer stepped forward. After all his law enforcement experience, his ability to nurture was still there.

Today, Daniel loves caring for the children and it’s clear it’s a two-way street. The babies love being in Daniel’s strong and protective arms. And the older kids can’t get enough of Daniel’s firm but playful way.

The way Daniel sees it, it’s two-fold giving. He cares for the kids and tells them about Jesus, but he also gifts parents with the freedom to worship, learn about God or perhaps to receive Christ for the first time.

Says Children’s Ministry Director, Lynette Lynn, “Daniel is the ultimate servant. He is not only an outstanding example to the men of the Rock, he volunteers in the nursery four services each Sunday he’s available and has even been known to take time off work to serve on special events.”

Adds Daniel, “It seems very natural to care for others. After all, God has been caring and protecting me since the day I was born.”