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Published: Saturday, 5/13/2006

Survivor winner relies on God

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Danni Boatwright, who will speak tonight at Cathedral of Praise, said there was nothing to do in the
jungle but  just seek God. 
Danni Boatwright, who will speak tonight at Cathedral of Praise, said there was nothing to do in the jungle but just seek God.
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What does the winner of CBS-TV s Survivor do with her million-dollar winnings?

If you re Danni Boatwright, the woman outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted 17 competitors in Survivor: Guatemala last year, you splurge by spending a few bucks on your dog, Hondo.

My dog is getting new hips on May 16, said Ms. Boatwright, who will be speaking tonight at Cathedral of Praise in Monclova Township.

The 3-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback was born with hip problems and Ms. Boatwright said the surgery will cost about $3,000.

It will immediately improve the quality of life for the dog. He ll feel so much better, she said in a phone interview this week.

That s about the extent of her spending spree because she invested the rest, she said.

Of course, I paid $400,000 in taxes. And then I paid my tithes and offerings. What I had left was not that much after all. But I m not going to complain, she said.

Ms. Boatwright, a native of Tonganoxie, Kan., was raised in a devout Christian family and has many relatives who are in the ministry.

My grandfather was a minister in Kansas City and then my uncle, Tommy Barnett, has the church in Phoenix [Phoenix First Assembly of God] and my cousin, Matthew Barnett, has the Dream Center in Los Angeles, and I have other uncles and cousins and brothers in the ministry, Ms. Boatwright said.

A sports fanatic who still plays in a weekly basketball league, the 30-year-old bachelorette works as a sportscaster for the Brigade, Kansas City s Arena Football League team, and hopes to someday be a sideline reporter for college basketball.

Being on the 11th series of Survivor was a challenge not just physically and emotionally, Ms. Boatwright said, but spiritually.

Before I went on this show, the only thing I was concerned about was that it was a game. And when our family plays games like Scattergories and Uno, we all cheat and lie and have fun and get ornery, she said.

And Survivor is a game, but there are tons of people watching it. You don t want to compromise your standards and risk being a bad example to a young boy or girl watching it who doesn t know the difference between a game and real life, Ms. Boatwright said. So I was concerned about that. But fortunately, I wasn t in any of those situations in the game. The Lord mapped it out for me perfectly.

One of the unexpected benefits of the reality show, she said, was getting away from modern life s hectic pace and being alone with God.

In the jungle, you don t have anything distracting you no friends, no TV, no radio. There s nothing to do but just seek God. It s amazing how close you can get to him and he will answer your prayers.

Danni Boatwright will speak at 6 tonight at Cathedral of Praise, 3000 Strayer Rd., Maumee. Tickets are $10 at the door. Information: 419-866-2094 or www.toledocop.org.

Contact David Yonke at: dyonke@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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