CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Every Sunday for the past 22 years, almost every Panther player would see Panthers bus driver Gary Roseborough ready to ride.
"I just admired being in that convoy," Roseborough said.
Roseborough recently retired driving for the Panthers due to health reasons, but the passion for getting behind the wheel started at a very young age.
"I would say when I was younger, when I get to be a big boy, I want to learn how to drive this big bus," Roseborough said.
And that's exactly what happened. Since 1973, Roseborough has driven charter buses — first, for Sam Moore's company in Salisbury and now for H.A. Thompson's Rose Chauffeured Transportation Ltd. in Charlotte.
When the Panthers first came to Charlotte, former owner Jerry Richardson was looking for drivers to help transport the team on Sundays, and he chose Gary due to his perfect driving record.
"He pointed at me, and said that young man over there has millions of miles, no tickets, accidents or incidents," Roseborough said. "That's my driver."
For the past six years, Rose Chauffeured Transportation has been a contractor for the Panthers. Four company buses, with Roseborough as one of the drivers, carry the team to and from the airport for away games.
But Roseborough does more than just sit behind the wheel; he spreads his faith to those around him.
"Most of all, I love getting my crosses to them,": The veteran driver said."And letting them know that the Lord love the other team as much as he love you."
According to several players on the Panther roster, they would refer to Gary as the 'Man of many crosses.' Roseborough would always have a pocket full of aluminum crosses to hand out to every player, coach and employee any free moment he could.
"There were some players that took it, put it up against their heart and said thank you, I needed that," Roseborough said.
But it was how Gary came across the crosses that make for an interesting story. During one of his routine trips as a bus driver before working for the Panthers, he ran into a Mocksville convenience store which carried some of the aluminum crosses free for the taking.
He later discovered the cross were made down the road by Mocksville welder Phil Fuller, who created these crosses free of charge.
"Once he put the connection together, he actually called me one day, told me who he was, and he had probably given away 20 to 30 thousand at that point," Fuller said. "So we became really close friends. Gary is more than handing out crosses. If you get a cross from Gary, You get a testimony, you get a story, that will last you the rest of your life."
Whenever Roseborough needs more crosses to help spread his message, he can now rely on Fuller to follow through while working on their shared goal; spreading their faith.