Good News Wants to Know… Would You Change Your Name?

Names often carry great significance and are an important part of our identity. This month Good News Wants to Know… If you had to change your name or could pick your own, what would your new name be and why would you choose that name?

Dr. Debra A. Schwinn

My name is Debra. I have always wanted my name to be the biblical Deborah. Deborah was an amazing woman, way ahead of her time, not afraid to be a judge, advisor, and leader in a time when no women were in such a role.  Yet she followed where God led.

Dr. Debra A. Schwinn, President, Palm Beach Atlantic University

William “Bill” C. Davell

I have always been grateful for my name.  In the Greek tradition we celebrated name days with bigger celebrations than birthdays.  I was named after my grandfather and our name day was New Year’s Day.  That meant three days of dancing and good food surrounding each January 1st.

William “Bill” C. Davell, Director, Tripp Scott PA

Bob Denison

I’d change my first name to Avery. That way people would think I was a rich kid related to the family that makes labels.

Bob Denison, President, Denison Yachting

Chip LaMarca

I am perfectly happy with my name as it is. The reason is, being born into an Italian-Catholic family, our tradition is that my brother was named after my late father, and I was named after my two grandfathers. It has always stayed with me that carrying their name I must do my best to live up to their legacies. I have also grown up using my nickname “Chip” and this has worked out well being in the political process.

Chip LaMarca, State Representative, Florida House District 100

Deborah Cusick

My name was changed to the one I believe our Lord assigned to me, so I wouldn’t want to change it. At birth, I was named Cynthia Louise. My mom didn’t like that people were calling me Cindy Lou, so she decided to change it. She wrote several other names on folded slips of paper and placed them in a hat. I was less than a year old when I picked out the name Deborah. I didn’t know how significant my new name was until I became a Christian and discovered who she was in the Bible – a mighty prophetess, judge and a mother in Israel. What a role model she is!

Deborah Cusick, FAU Campus Volunteer, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship

Dennis DeMarois

If I had to change my name it would be “Caesar.” Thoughtful remembrance of my first Spanish class when I was a teenager. Classmates and teacher couldn’t think of a name that resembled my English name, so they gave me this. I’ve used it ever since, especially when I’m with my daughters at a place where they ask, “What’s the name for this order?” Love to see my girls smirk or roll their eyes as “Caesar” is called out over the intercom in a crowded restaurant or coffee shop. – 

Dennis DeMarois, CEO/Executive Director, Gathering of Men Palm Beach County

Dolores King-St. George

This one is easy. My mother (adopted mom) wanted to name me Jennifer. However, my birth mother and adopted father liked Dolores, and my birth mother put Dolores on my birth certificate. If I were to change my name, I would change it to Jennifer to honor my amazing, wonderful, God-chosen mom.

Dolores King-St. George, President, King Communications and GraceNet Radio

Fidel Gomez

Max. I would change my name to Max. Maximo Gomez was my papa and a man that I admired more than any other human being. Maximo Gomez was a man that displayed to me what unconditional love looks like. He was a man that exemplified the true meaning of commitment. I wish my parents would’ve named me Maximo. My papa was my superhero and always will be. I think of 1 Corinthians 15:58 when I think of Maximo Gomez

Fidel Gomez, Pastor, Calvary Chapel Hollywood

Fred Scarbrough

Matthew, which means “gift of God,” would be one of my favorites. It is biblical and happens to be my favorite gospel book of the Bible!

Fred Scarbrough, DVM, Founder, Scarbrough Animal Hospital and HOPE South Florida

Ilona Helen Wayner P.A.

Names are important! Never thought much about it until my classmates made fun of mine in elementary school. They couldn’t pronounce it properly so the jokes and name calling began. The pronunciation is É-l-ó-na (Ilona). I was named after my momma and very proud of it! She was strong and gracious, full of life and love and oh so much kindness! I always wanted to be just like her so when she started using the translation, Helen it was for me as well. However, I do use my legally recognized name for all legal documents etc. Ilona aka Helen  – Proud Hungarian/American!!

Ilona Helen Wayner P.A., Century 21 Hansen Realty

James ‘JT’ Taylor

I introduced myself as ‘Logan’ in college when I didn’t want any contact with someone in the future. I wasn’t lying. It was a nickname.

James ‘JT’ Taylor, Managing Director, Head of Automotive Retail, Truist Securities

James Welch

I would choose my current name. James is a family name. My Dad is James, Sr. I am grateful to be named after my dad. He is a caring, funny and hardworking man. Throughout my upbringing he modeled for me authentic manhood. He is now a born again Christian, and his passion to share Christ inspires me. I have always been proud to be his son and to share a name with him.

James Welch, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale

Jesse Carroccio

I would keep my name… In the bible, we see great significance in the names people are given. My parents may have chosen my name, but I believe it was divinely appointed. However, I do look forward to Heaven where we are promised a new name (Revelation 2:17).

Jesse Carroccio, Station Manager, WRMB Moody Radio

Dr. Jessica Vera

The question brought to mind a funny story. When I was born my parents did not know Jesus. Yet, my father gave me my birth name, “Yeshua” [his written version of Jessica in Peruvian dialect] which is close to the gender-neutral Hebrew name meaning “Savior” or “the Lord is my salvation.” I have wondered how that occurred but then again Jessica in the bible has a meaning of “God beholds” or “to see before.” I believe my father was unconsciously prophetic. I’m so grateful for my given name. I would not change it.  

Dr. Jessica Vera, President, CEO, Elite Foundation

Justus Martin

My amazing parents gave me a name I’d never change, but if I had to pick an alternative it would be “Vincentius” — it is the Latin word for “conquering”.

Justus Martin, Staff Photographer, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale

Larry Lacy

Definitely, David! Although there was plenty of “turbulence ” during his reign, he was still a man after God’s own heart.

Larry Lacy, Pastor, The Answer Church

Dr. Mary Drabik

If I had the chance to choose my own name, I think I would keep my name, Mary.  My father passed away of cancer when I was a young girl, and my mother told me that my father always wanted a daughter named Mary.  So, because of that, I would keep my name.

Dr. Mary Drabik, President, South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary

Mike McDermott, PA

Being raised in the Catholic Church, I received the sacrament of Confirmation around age 12, which involved taking an additional name. I chose the name Joseph, primarily because the most popular kid in my class was named Joseph!  Only years later did I realize what a great name I chose as Joseph, in the Bible, was blessed by the Lord everywhere he went no matter the difficulties and life challenges he faced.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

Mike McDermott, PA, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, The Keyes Company

Milan Stefanovic

Growing up as a 1st generation American and not having the typical “American” name, I would have jumped all over this question with several options as a young boy. However, my parents always instilled in me that my name was unique to me, and I must own it. They said, “you define the name, the name doesn’t define you.” Therefore, I am going to opt out of this question and stay with my current name. It took me many years to learn that this is the correct answer.

Milan Stefanovic, Chief Operations & Personal Lines Officer, Bass Underwriters – Plantation FL

Oksana Horton

Growing up I always wanted an English name because Americans seemed to have such a hard time pronouncing “Oksana.” In fact, it was not unusual for people to avoid addressing me for fear of mispronouncing it thereby increasing my desire to be named something simpler, something more “American.” But as I got older, I found out what my name means: “Oksana” means “praise be to God” and my middle name “Lubamyra” means “love and peace.”  Needless to say, my name went from a burden to a blessing – and I couldn’t be happier with it!

Oksana Horton, Creative Director, Torch & Trumpet Theater Company

O’Neal Dozier

If I had to change my name and pick a new name, I would be rather sad becauseI truly love my name, because my name is rare and unique. Yes, my name is rare and unique because there is no one else in the whole wide world with my name. I am the only O’Neal Dozier in the whole wide world. Now, if you don’t believe me, then do your Internet search and you will see that I am the one and only. My mother did a very good job in choosing my name. Plus, I am the only one of her twelve children without a middle name. Now you can understand why I would not want to change my name.

O’Neal Dozier, Pastor, The Worldwide Christian Center

Patricia Colangelo, EdS

I like my name; my first name means “noble” and my last “with the angels” (thanks to my husband). If I had to change my name, I would change it to “Morning Glory,” a name my great-grandmother gave me at an early age. Evidently, I was a very early riser as an infant and young child, that has continued to this day. She would say that not only was I up early, I always had a smile on my face. The beautiful blue flowers would open every morning and as soon as I was old enough, I would go outside early to watch them open.

Patricia Colangelo, EdS, Lecturer, Professor, Trinity International University – Florida

Coach Rick Andreassen

If I could change my name, I wouldn’t change it… I would leave it the same name… Rick… It means “leader,” so I pray I have followed Jesus and been a good leader for my family and children, and students I have taught. In my 36 years of coaching, I am honored that ‘Coach’ has become the prefix to my name (I believe that title is a term of endearment). So, Coach Rick it is, and I’m figuring Coach Rick it will always be!!

Coach Rick Andreassen, Founder and President, SAINTS Homeschool P.E. and SAINTS International Sports Ministry

Romney C. Rogers

I have never really wanted to have another name, but there are some cool first names I have come across that I have thought about adopting for a day or two. Names like Brooks, Jailen and Waylon! 

Romney C. Rogers, Managing Partner, Rogers Morris & Ziegler LLP 

Steve Daigle

If I had to change my name, it would probably be to change it to Joshua. I always loved the name, and the fact that it is the Hebrew name of Jesus meaning Jehovah or God is salvation. As we prayed for children for many years, I felt that God confirmed that He wanted me to name one of them Joshua. After a four-year journey of trying, six years ago He allowed that to happen so that name now lives on in our family through one of our sons. If we have to identify in any name, it should be in no other name, but the Name of Jesus. 

Steve Daigle, Campus Pastor, Calvary Chapel Parkland

Steve Solomon

During my life I’ve been called Steven, mostly Steve, sometimes Stevie. In high school my nickname was either The Sol or just plain Sol… short for my last name Solomon when there were too many Steves around. When people can’t remember, I’ve even been called Stu or Stuie… I’d always like to try the name Kenneth or Ken or Kenny.  That’s my middle name and you can’t confuse that one!

Steve Solomon, Area Director, CBMC South Florida

Susie M. Cohen, PhD

I have always loved the name Priscilla, especially for its meaning and reference in the New Testament to a prominent female in the early Church. It is of Latin origin and means “venerable, ancient” and was the name of a strong, capable woman in the New Testament who along with her husband risked their lives for Paul (Romans 16:4), established a church in their home (1 Corinthians 16:19) and were coworkers with Paul in Christ Jesus (Romans 16:3).

Susie M. Cohen, PhD, Associate Dean, Assistant Professor of Education

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