I grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, where I graduated from high school. I’m the eldest of 4 kids raised by my hard-working parents. My mom overcame nearly impossible odds in being accepted to medical school, graduating as one of 7 women out of a class of 100, in 1965. While she was in private practice, she also served as a flight surgeon in the US Air Force for 17 years. My dad worked for General Electric for many years before moving to real estate, and now is involved in farming and ranching.
I went to the University of Oklahoma, graduated with a BA in psychology, then moved to Chicago, IL, for grad school/seminary, finishing the M.Div. degree. After graduating and being ordained, I moved to south Texas, where I worked as an Associate Pastor, developing a growing youth program and helping the church discover the importance of service in the community. My sweetheart and I married a few months after I was ordained. After 3 years I received a call as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, in Laredo, TX. There, I helped develop Laredos Unidos, a border ministry project working in colonias in Mexico, to build houses and churches, provide safe drinking water, and develop opportunities for livelihoods. I was a founding member of a refugee assistance program that provided legal representation for people in dire situations.
I was called to Grand Ave Presbyterian Church, in 1994, a congregation that has been historically involved in service to the community and the college. In the 1960s the Rev John Minter, from Grand Ave, and the Rev W E McGruder, from Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, met quietly on a regular basis for breakfast at a local cafe when it was against the norms of the day for a White man and a Black man to sit down together at the same table in a public restaurant. Through their leadership, and the work of many other people, they helped peacefully integrate the city of Sherman. Grand Ave has produced members of the School Board and City Council, Mayors, and many others committed to community service. It is a founding church of Grayson County Habitat for Humanity.
My wife and I have raised three sons here, each attending schools in the Sherman Independent School District.
Four years ago, following the retirement of the pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Denison, I began serving as their pastor while continuing my work with Grand Ave Pres. First Presbyterian was established in 1872, before the city of Denison was chartered. They continue to reach out to the community through their pioneering spirit and their sense of gratitude with projects like the Main Street Festival Pancake Breakfast and the annual Public Service Luncheon to thank all of the people who make our towns and county so great. I enjoy being a part of the two largest communities in Grayson County. I find people here thoughtful, eager to serve, willing to learn, and ready to be generous when they understand the challenge before them.
I have served on the Federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program, Board Chair for 20 years, where I’ve become more familiar with non profit organizations in our county that take on the challenge of caring for seniors, hungry people, at-risk youth, people in need of shelter, and other people in desperate situations.
I have served on the Bio-Ethics Committee of Wilson N Jones Hospital for 20 years, interacting with staff and patient families, learning about issues of healthcare and the challenges facing our hospitals with federal cutbacks on health coverage, and the threat that presents to rural hospitals throughout this district.
I helped found Grayson Disaster Relief in 2005, when we were nearly overwhelmed with 1100 families that moved into the county as they fled hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We brought together churches, non profit organizations, government agencies, and people eager to help in resettling families. We came together again in 2007 to organize long-term recovery efforts for Grayson County residents who were flooded out of their homes.
I served on an advisory committee of the Sherman Independent School District. I also serve as an Advisory Committee member of the Child Advocacy Center, in Sherman. I volunteered as a chaplain for Home Hospice of Grayson County for 15 years, served as a Board Member for several years, and President of the Board for one year.
I have also worked in leadership positions on committees and councils of the Presbyterian Church.
I have always taken an interest in what we do in our public efforts, and have been committed to bringing people together to work on problems without regard to political affiliation. I’m a lifelong Democrat primarily from my understanding of the gospel of Matthew 25.35-36, ‘’For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. i was in prison and you came to me.’’ Democrats are not perfect. But, I think the kinds of things emphasized by the party to take on some responsibility of caring for people who find themselves vulnerable, or concerned about what we share for the common good as a nation are exemplified by the Democratic Party. I served as the Grayson County Democratic Party Chair for 5 years helping organize elections, working with the new Elections Administrator, leading meetings of the party, and attending State conventions as a delegate.
I have entered this race in hopes of bringing people together with a new understanding of this office, being willing to listen to all of the constituents, and working to address the needs of the citizens of the 4th Congressional District.
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