Around the State: TBM wraps up after tornadoes; Olympian Retton lectures at UMHB

Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers donated more than 10,000 volunteer hours after tornadoes hit Franklin and Alto—including more than 400 hours operating heavy equipment. (Photo / Ken Camp)

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Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers completed work in the aftermath of tornadoes that hit Franklin and Alto, donating more than 10,000 volunteer hours. Collectively, the teams prepared more than 3,000 meals, purified 2,183 gallons of water, distributed more than 1,400 boxes, completed 100 chainsaw jobs and logged more than 400 heavy equipment hours. They made more than 800 personal contacts, distributed 98 Bibles and recorded nine professions of faith in Christ.

Mary Lou Retton, the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics, delivered the 2019 McLane Lecture at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. (UMHB Photo)

Mary Lou Retton, the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics, delivered the 2019 McLane Lecture at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. In the final two rounds of competition at the 1984 Summer Olympics, Retton earned perfect 10-point scores on both her floor exercise and vault. “I wasn’t supposed to be there, and I certainly wasn’t supposed to do that,” Retton told the UMHB crowd, emphasizing the importance of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. She recalled sustaining a catastrophic knee injury that required immediate surgery five weeks prior to the Olympics. “To say the least, the doctors were not optimistic about my chances. … It was at that moment, I felt a surge in my stomach, and I know it was the Holy Spirit,” Retton said. “He was blessing me and telling me, ‘You can do this.’” Retton told the UMHB audience: “Don’t let other people put limitations on you. Taking those risks and meeting those challenges head-on is sometimes the only way to make your dreams come true.”

East Texas Baptist University named John Sargent as the 2019 J. Ward Walker Award recipient. Sargent, dean of ETBU’s School of Education and professor of teacher education, presented the J. Ward Walker Lecture on April 24. Walker was vice president for spiritual life at ETBU in the 1990s, and recipients of the award named in his memory are selected based on their exemplary and consistent engagement of faith with scholarship, teaching or administrative service.

Five Howard Payne University students were honored as Sumners Scholars—(left to right)
Augusta Johnson, Jessica Catlett, Emma Reed, Tyler Olin and Joel Justice. They are pictured with HPU President Cory Hines and representatives from the Sumners Foundation—(left to right) Eileen Resnick, program officer; Charles Pierson, executive officer; Lon Williams, trustee; and Scott Higginbotham, trustee. (HPU Photo)

Five graduating seniors from Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy were recognized during the recent Sumners Scholars Banquet. The students, who were selected as Hatton W. Sumners Foundation Scholars during their junior year, each received a plaque and a copy of The Wisdom of Hatton W. Sumners and The Sumners Foundation Scholarships. Honored for completing four semesters as Sumners Scholars were Joel Justice of Brownwood, Augusta Johnson of Gatesville, Emma Reed of Fort Worth, Jessica Catlett of Allyton and Tyler Olin of Howe. The Sumners Scholar program offers students the opportunity to attend special lectures, seminars and conferences featuring leaders from both public and private sectors. It also provides a $7,500 per semester scholarship for two years.

The Master’s Singers from First Baptist Church in Arlington were featured at the Norvell Slater Hymn Sing at Dallas Baptist University. (DBU Photo)

Dallas Baptist University hosted the 31st annual Norvell Slater Hymn Sing in Pilgrim Chapel. The event followed the DBU Grandparents’ Day luncheon, and it featured the Master’s Singers from First Baptist Church in Arlington. The event is named for the longtime host of the “Hymns We Love” Sunday morning radio program, heard for more than four decades in North Texas.

Baylor Law School dedicated the Charles E. Wallace Family Courtyard at the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center today in the memory of Waco lawyer Charles “Chuck” Wallace. The Wallace Family Courtyard was named in appreciation for a $2 million gift from Sherri W. and Robert “Bobby” L. Patton Jr. of Fort Worth in memory of her father and in honor of her mother, Sandra Stoesser Wallace. In addition to enhancements to the courtyard, the gift helps underwrite the legal writing and pro bono programs within Baylor Law School.

Howard Payne University’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes raised about $1,500 through the Tony Daniel Memorial 5K. (HPU Photo)

Howard Payne University’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes raised about $1,500 through theTony Daniel Memorial 5K. Money raised from the event is set aside in the FCA’s scholarship fund and used to send athletes and coaches to FCA camps in Texas. The event honors the memory of the FCA Brownwood area director who died last year.

Cole Franklin, director of the East Texas Baptist University debate team, received the 2019 Bennett Strange Coach of the Year Award at the International Public Debate Association’s national championship tournament and convention in Shreveport, La. Determined by a vote of all university programs attending the national tournament, the Coach of the Year award is presented to a debate director annually and honors the coach for his or her dedication to students, mentoring, debate education and pedagogy, and service to the association and debate community. Franklin is chair of the Department of Communication Studies and professor of communication at ETBU.

Howard Payne University recently held its sixth annual Wellness Fair, providing health screenings, demonstrations, exhibits and games, including a tug-of-war contest between teams made up of HPU faculty, staff and students. HPU personnel staffed booths focused on seven dimensions of wellness—emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, occupational, social and physical.

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10 years for DeWayne Bush as pastor of First Baptist Church is Tuscola.

10 years for Joseph Fields as pastor of New Beginnings Church in Lewisville.

5 years for Charles McDermett as pastor of First Baptist Church of Eula in Clyde.


Gene W. Jones will retire May 31 after 50 years in fulltime vocational ministry. He has been an associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Canyon since 1997, initially in the area of education and administration and for the last 10 years in senior adult ministry. He previously served churches in Sherman, Baytown, Houston, Big Spring, Dallas, Dimmit and Stanton, as well as in Clovis, N.M.

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