Around the State: Buckner evacuees return to Beaumont

Ventana by Buckner culinary staff prepare an additional 100 meals for individuals from Calder Woods in Beaumont who had been displaced due to Hurricane Laura. About 50 meals were for Calder Woods residents and another 50 meals for Calder Woods associates and their families who were evacuated to Ventana in Dallas. (Buckner Photo by Russ Dilday)

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Residents of Calder Woods, a Buckner Retirement Services senior living community, who had been evacuated due to Hurricane Laura returned to Beaumont on Aug. 29, and Buckner Children and Family Services clients and staff returned Sept. 1. About 200 individuals related to Buckner ministries in Southeast Texas were part of the 400,000 people who evacuated the region, and they were housed at other Buckner facilities until they were able to return safely to the Beaumont area. Charter buses and ambulances transported residents and associates to and from Calder Woods to Parkway Place in Houston, Buckner Villas in Austin and Ventana by Buckner in Dallas. Children, families and staff from Buckner Children and Family Services traveled by bus to and from Camp Buckner, near Burnet. Buckner officials fully assessed the facilities in Beaumont to assure they were free of significant damage and to make certain utilities were available before the evacuees returned.

In place of its traditional homecoming weekend activities, Howard Payne University has scheduled two new events—a fall semester HPU Family Reunion on Oct. 10 and a spring semester HPU Family Reunion on Feb. 20. Both events will be on a smaller scale than the typical homecoming weekend, in response to safety concerns and protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the fall semester event, HPU alumni, friends, students, board members, personnel and families are invited to gather from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 10 outside the L.J. Mims Auditorium Pergola for Cobbler on the Campus. The event will feature free cobbler, along with live music by Taylor Castleberry, a 2013 HPU graduate. Honorees typically recognized during homecoming weekend will be celebrated at an invitation-only luncheon held in conjunction with the fall HPU Family Reunion. They are Ramona Tennison Akins, Class of 1952, Coming Home Queen; Edward E. Cody, Class of 2010, Outstanding Young Graduate; Ronnie W. Floyd, Class of 1978, Distinguished Alumnus; Richard A. Jackson, Class of 1960, Medal of Service; Grace Rivas Stearns, Class of 1967, José Rivas Distinguished Service Award; and Elizabeth Ellis Wallace, Class of 1971, Grand Marshal. They also will be invited to be special guests at the spring semester Family Reunion, which will feature a tailgate celebration with music by Austin Upchurch and his band prior to the HPU football game against McMurry University at Gordon Wood Stadium. To register for the fall semester HPU Family Reunion, click here.

Texas Baptists named nine public school educators as the 2020 BEST—Baptist Educators Serving Texans—Award recipients. The award celebrates Christian educators who are living out their faith daily among their students and the Texas Baptist institutions where they received their education. Recipients are Margarita Garcia, a Baptist University of the Américas graduate and a bilingual and ESL program coordinator for Kaufman Independent School District; Deborah Wagner, a Baylor University graduate and a speech language pathologist for the Lytle Independent School District; Haley Briggs, a Dallas Baptist University graduate and a fourth grade English teacher at Oak Woods School in the Granbury Independent School District; Jessica Sullens, an East Texas Baptist University graduate and a sixth grade writing teacher at Hallsville Junior High School; Shana Culp, a Hardin-Simmons University graduate and an English and social studies teacher for the Garland Independent School District; Carla Stutts, a Houston Baptist University graduate and a sixth grade science teacher for the Houston Independent School District; Andrea Harp, a Howard Payne University graduate and an English teacher at Stanton High School; Tammy Barrack, a University of Mary Hardin-Baylor graduate and a third grade teacher at Packsaddle Elementary School in the Llano Independent School District; and Mike Manchee, a Wayland Baptist University graduate and a principal at Lorenzo de Zavala Middle School in the Amarillo Independent School District. Award recipients will be recognized during the celebration service of the 2020 Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting at 6 p.m. on Nov. 17. The service will be streamed at txb.org/am and on Texas Baptists’ Facebook page.



B.H. Carroll Theological Institute has received approval from the Department of Veterans Affairs to serve as an educational provider for veterans and other eligible persons with VA benefits. Under U.S. Code Title 38, federal educational benefits—commonly referred to as the G.I. Bill— awarded to veterans now can be utilized to pursue any of the master’s degree programs at the Carroll Institute. Approval marked “a giant step forward for Carroll, and more importantly, for veterans and their eligible family members as they seek to be trained and equipped to serve in local churches and other auxiliary ministries,” said Stan Moore, senior fellow and registrar at the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute. Military personnel on active duty also may be able to receive financial assistance to pursue their training through their local military unit.


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