Around the State: Artist gives missions-inspired works to HSU

A scene from Santa Cruz DelSeibo in the Dominican Republic is among the original pieces of art Michael Wurman donated to Hardin-Simmons University. (HSU Photo)

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Artist Michael Wurman and his daughter Brittany served in the Dominican Republic with a medical missions team from Hardin-Simmons University. (Photo Courtesy of HSU)

A participant in a recent medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic with Hardin-Simmons University’s physician assistant program returned home inspired—not only to be grateful and generous, but also to create a lasting artistic tribute. Artist Michael Wurman joined the trip at the invitation of his daughter Brittany, a current student in the physician assistant program. While students held clinics in sugar mill settlements, he distributed personal hygiene products. When he returned home, he created seven works of art depicting the trip to the Dominican Republic, along with two pastel pieces showing Abilene-area landscapes. Wurman donated all of his creations to the newly renovated physician assistant’s space in HSU’s Mabee Hall. “I knew the PA department had just moved into a new building, and when I found out through my daughter that the walls were still empty, it only made sense to donate them,” he said.

Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio will award more than $6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations that help underserved populations in Bexar County and the surrounding area. “These grants will enable these organizations to have an even greater impact on San Antonio area residents, helping those who need it most,” said Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio President and CEO Cody Knowlton. “By investing in these organizations, we are able to share Jesus’ message of hope, love and support.” The grants will be presented at an event at 4:30 p.m., Dec. 10, at First Baptist Church in San Antonio. The two largest grants will be awarded to CentroMed and Meals on Wheels. The grant will enable CentroMed to establish PACE—Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly—that will provide eligible senior adults in Bexar County with primary medical care, social services, restorative therapies, nutritional help and other assistance. The grant will enable Meals on Wheels—working in conjunction with Grace Place, which helps individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia—to build a 40,000-square-foot facility with an optimized production kitchen and other features to expand its programs. Baptist Health Foundation also will provide a $50,000 grant to Texas Baptist Men for disaster relief. It will allow TBM to replace its statewide disaster relief food-service unit—a 53-foot tractor-trailer rig—with three smaller units that can be deployed more rapidly with fewer volunteers or could be used together to provide the same meal-production capacity as the big rig.

Gabby Shbeir of Cypress and Sam Bentz of San Antonio received the Gary and Diane Heavin Servant Leadership Award from UMHB. (UMHB Photo)

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor presented the Gary and Diane Heavin Servant Leadership Award to seniors Sam Bentz of San Antonio and Gabby Shbeir of Cypress. The annual award recognizes students who have devoted extraordinary time and energy to ministry and community service during their time at UMHB. The recognition included a $1,000 cash award for each student, a portion of which was donated to an organization of his or her choice. Both Bentz and Shbeir have served on the college ministry team at First Baptist Church in Temple. Bentz also was co-director of Missions Emphasis Week and has been involved with Baptist Student Ministries. Shbeir served on the executive committee for The Big Event, a day of service for UMHB students, and helped charter the UMHB chapter of Enactus, an organization that focuses on bringing about change through entrepreneurial action. Shbeir also recruited and led students on spring break mission trips to Costa Rica.

Six Howard Payne University students, a faculty member and a retired faculty member recently took part in Mission Waco’s Poverty Simulation, designed to give participants a firsthand look at poverty in America. Participants included Rachel Derrington Bourke, professor of social work and director of the social work program at HPU; sophomore Felicia Guzman of Natalia; senior David Manolof of Midway, Ark,; senior Shantel Oplotnik of Brownwood; senior Destiny Sharp of Brownwood; senior Andrew Taylor of Brookesmith; and sophomore Diana Torres of Houston. For the 10th time, Dan Humeniuk, assistant professor emeritus of social work, also participated in the poverty simulation. “The experience always serves to emphasize how people of faith should respond to poverty,” Humeniuk said. “It is always my hope that the students bring back a greater sensitivity to those who live in the margins of society and a clearer understanding of their obligation as Christians to advocate and assist those in need.”

During Homecoming week, Dallas Baptist University presented its Distinguished Alumnus Award to Wes Johnson, current pitching coach for the Minnesota Twins, and its Honorary Alumnus Award to Alva G. Parks, who was executive vice president at DBU from 1990 to 1996 and served on the board of trustees.


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