Be A Good Neighbor…!

“Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder. ”   By  John F. Kennedy

“Making Neighbors!

Just the other day I was forwarded a link featuring a story about The Pathway Project, the great partnership between our college and Copey, and my personal involvement. The title of the story is “The Man Who Made Emory & Henry College and Costa Rica Neighbors” authored by Monica Hoel. She has held the position of Alumni Director for E&H College for nearly 30 years.

My hat is off to the college for continuing to show such a strong interest and desire to support this project. Having our story told in such a quality fashion along with the opportunity to reach so many people, is greatly appreciated. I highly recommend you checking out this link:   https://www.ehc.edu/live/news/877.Monica Hoel.1

Note: The link above also has a link to a recent radio broadcast covering the Pathway Project. 

Monica is one of those extraordinary human fixtures you will find on the E&H College campus. She is so good at her work that much success is taken for granted. Or worse, Monica’s accomplishments often are unknown or unnoticed. This is very typical of those who tackle a task first with their heart, then their head. She is fun and dedicated. She really cares about students and perceives each student as a future E&H College alumni. And, she is very engaged from start to finish with the Pathway Project.

During the “Annual Reception” held for the visiting Copey students back in June, I made the following comment about Monica in my short speech; “if I had to explain to anyone what it means to have the heart of a servant…I would have them personally meet Monica”. She is truly such a person. And, she is joined by others on campus who also work wonders for the Pathway Project.

The Copey Learning Center Reopens

The Learning Center has been on a two week mid-year vacation and teaching will resume this week. There has not been much of a vacation on my end. Each year the Pathway Project requires some closeout activities to be attended to. I look forward to issuing the final news and results of the Pathway Project next week. Pathway display

I also plan to make some special announcements next week about the Copey Learning Center.

And, a presentation is scheduled with my Kiwanis Club in late August. The membership will hear about this year’s 2019 Pathway Project and I will include a picture board depicting all four years of the Pathway Project. There will be a couple other items to show and this should be a real fun time of sharing.

I am always ready to do a presentation if any nearby “Friends” have a school, church, or club this may interest.

“Friends make the best neighbors!”

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Your Talk…!

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”                              By Bobby Unser

Just within days, the Costa Rican guests will be arriving in the US and then to the Emory & Henry College campus. The results of many months planning and various people working together will soon be evident to us all.

The recent photo below is one that speaks volumes about the continuous efforts of the “Friends of Copey” as useful and meaningful partners with the Copey Learning Center.

CLC EH team

Angela, Fatima, Noelia, Celeste, Adriana, Ana Yancy

This is one of the best photos I have received from the Copey Learning Center. Shown are the past and current Executive Directors. Also shows the past students (Noelia and Celeste) who visited E&H College last summer and the current students (Fatima and Adriana) heading our way.

The community of Copey can proclaim that in a short 12 month period, four of their brightest and best students have visited the US and our college.

 

The Pathway Project Fundraising Results

There is so much praise and “thank yous” to pass around. I am overwhelmed by the

Good News

generosity and interest so many of you have for this project. As of today, we can proclaim victory and success having exceeded the fundraising goal by several hundred dollars. My previous report indicated the campaign was officially closed with several hundred dollars “below” our goal. But, I also indicated there were funds still forthcoming and they have been received.

Just Outstanding!

My desired goal was to have the Pathway Project 100% funded by my E&H College friends and affiliated members of the college.

Progress Tracking Report

The total amount ($3,065.00) raised includes some donations from donor “Friends” who did not receive my request since they were not in the E&H category. However, E&H friends and affiliates did donate enough to meet and exceed the goal of $2,700.00.

Now, two years running, let it be clear that the “Pathway Project” involving our college has been successfully funded by friends and affiliates of the college. And, if some of you still want to join in with a donation, Thank you and..send the donation in.

We are covering basic travel expenses and also want the experience to be as memorable as possible. For example, once they arrive in DC, they will spend time looking at the sites and will attend the Kennedy Center to watch the NYC Ballet performance. Then while traveling down Interstate 81, they will visit the Natural Bridge. If there are funds unspent at the conclusion of this project, these funds roll over to next year. You can pay forward as well.

As a reminder, the funding for this effort is supported in three parts. The community of Copey, parents, and friends all contribute in various way to cover the cost for the preparations and readiness needed for the students to travel to the US. The college support includes hosting and providing a wide variety of experiences for all of our guests while on or near campus. This includes finding support to cover tuition for the Young Scholars course both Fatima and Adriana will attend with other students. And, “Friends of Copey” is responsible for travel costs for all four guests as they depart Costa Rica and return to Costa Rica. There is a real joy in our ability to “Walk the Talk!”

Welcome Party

There is planned an official greeting and reception for our guests shortly after their Celebration balloons.arrival. A major supporter of the “Pathway Project” and a fellow E&H Board member has invited us to join in on the reception on June 13th at his home. This is a great opportunity if you are nearby to meet in person our guests as well as others who are also “Friends of Copey”. Because of the very wide distribution of my Blog which includes both “Friends of Copey” and those just curious, send me an email requesting time and location. This will prove to be an unforgettable reception. Join In!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Friends of Copey Accomplishments

 

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”      by Corrie ten Boom

With the Learning Center ending its 2015 season and we gear up for 2016, it is a good time to just reflect on some of the highlights and achievements we have made in partnership with the Learning Center.

Financial Support

  • Successful Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive raising funds to provide tuition support for 15 plus students to attend the Learning Center in 2015.

Scholarship Recipient

  • Successful Fund Drive to raise $2500 to support the newly paid position of Executive Director for the Learning Center.
  • Provided $400 plus to support the purchase of miscellaneous school supplies and equipment for the Learning Center including a Tablet.

Non-Financial

  • Kiwanis Tri-Cities, Washington approved zzzKiwanisFriends of Copey as an authorized (recognized) project supported by Kiwanis.

 

 

Friends of Copey unveils new “Friends” banner 

zzzFriends w banner

Academic 

  • Established formal relations with Kiwanis’ K-Kids from Jefferson Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary Pen PalRichland, Washington and students attending the Learning Center. Pen Pal Program
  • Sharing a Pen Pal Program with music students attending Sugar Grove Elementary School located in Sugar Grove, Virginia with the Learning Center students.

CLC letter to Sugar Grove (2)

There are numerous other accomplishments including major milestones reached with the Blog  during the year to report and we will continue highlighting them in the next Post.

OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

Two of the many distinguished ladies in my family were recent recipients of honor and recognition. My Aunt Katherine (Goble) Johnson was one of seventeen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to her by President Obama last week. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian. Aunt Katherine’s life and achievements present an incredible story. You can learn more about her story by clicking on the link below:

http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20151124/GZ01/151129725

Barack Obama, Katherine Johnson, Willie Mays

Aunt Katherine is the oldest of my living aunts and her life and legacy continues to shine as a beacon of inspiration and self-determination. Her life’s passport was education and it took her to places far beyond this earth. Captain Kirk move over….Aunt Katherine is on her way!

A second recognition of importance went to my sister Pat Wright. She has been accepted as a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). As a direct descendent of John “The Patriot” Broady, our 6th grandfather, Pat qualified for DAR membership. Our cousin, Gwen Huckstep, became a DAR member in 2014. Gwen resides in southwest Virginia near the area where John “The Patriot” lived and is buried.

20151121_112449

Membership approval is granted only after extensive and verifiable proof is provided that you are a direct descendent of one who participated in the American Revolutionary War. IMG_1071

John “The Patriot” was a slave and owned by Colonel Campbell, the American Revolutionary War commander who led an army of southwest Virginians in the famous Battle of Kings Mountain. John “The Patriot’s” life and relationship with the Campbell family has been of serious interest to historians for years and aspects of his life continues to be researched. If you are in or around Smyth County Virginia, you will find John “The Patriot’s” name included on the DAR monument located on the Court House lawn. To our knowledge, Pat is the only Afro-American DAR member residing in the Northwest.

Both Aunt Katherine and Pat represent the long line of Gobles and Broadys who have distinguished themselves in many areas such as education, the military, the Arts, in the church, business, and community. Personally, I have been lifted up by so many in my family. What a Blessing!

I feel honored and compelled to share these personal stories of achievements. Especially in Aunt Katherine’s case, in her early life someone took interest in her and encouraged her to enjoy learning and to set high goals. This is the essence of “Friends of Copey” as we strive to encourage learning and inspire young people to shoot for the stars.  As “Friends” You and I can make a difference!

 

Season of Joy…!

“Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”     By Mother Teresa
Thank you for the several comments following last week’s Post. The notes ranged from wishing my uncle Harold Evans well and a quick recovery, giving praise to my grandson Maliek on his final days wearing a Nevada Wolfpack Football uniform, and extending “best wishes” to Ana as she moves on to new adventures.

The Copey Learning Center Update

I have been in contact with the newly hired Copey Learning Center Director and we are excited about the 2020 school year. Ines Sugura Serrano, the new director and I will have our first Skype session next week. She takes on the position having obtained her BA Degree in English from the National University in Costa Rica along with other educational experiences.

She comes on board with several major challenges including helping to find a new location for the Copey Learning Center. The current location is now closed for several months for much needed repairs. We welcome Ines into this wonderful and exciting adventure. CLC Graduates 2019

We are also very happy to show a few of the 2019 Copey Learning Center students (graduates) who have successfully completed their educational requirements.

I should point out I have personally spoken to all three of these students via Skype a couple of months ago. I predict we will hear and see much more of these students over the next year or two. They are excellent students and have a bright future.

Some updates on the news!

Uncle Harold is back home and has some lingering medical issues with his speech and memory caused by his recent stroke. At age 90, he has some obvious challenges ahead but we are all praying for a complete recovery.  Keep praying…Thanks!Maliek.grad.1

Maliek spent this past weekend attending his graduation ceremony at the University of Nevada. This was certainly a huge event and major milestone for Maliek. He now has his BA Degree in Business and we are very proud of his academic success. Only his mother and brother were able to attend since several of us were in Reno the previous weekend to attend the Senior Day football game.  Maliek.foot.2

Maliek also spent time this past weekend attending the annual Nevada Wolfpack Awards Banquet.

We were there in spirit. And, in case the news has not reached everyone in “Friends of Copey” land, the University of Nevada has been invited to participate in the upcoming “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl” scheduled for January 3, 2020.  We have one more opportunity to see #16 just below the name “Broady” on the back of the Wolfpack jersey.

 

“Friends are Family…!

Thanksgiving For Much!

It is December…and the Copey Learning Center (CLC) is closed CLC graduation down for their summer break. Before closing, CLC conducted its annual graduation ceremony Sunday, November 24th. Among these graduates are a couple future “Pathway Project” recipients we can expect to see in June 2020.

The enthusiasm continues among the Copey parents and the community for the work of the CLC. This grass roots level of folks is determined to keep this learning center operating.

Congrats to all of the students, parents, and the Board of Directors and thank you for letting us be part of your success.

Ana Yancy…says goodbye!

Ana Yancy’s final week of work with the CLC ended last week. She has served as the Executive Director and “interim” director for four years. She traveled twice to America as chaperone for the “Pathway Project”, and has been my key contact with the CLC since Angela left. I have enjoyed working with her and will miss her cheerful and positive “can do” attitude she always expressed. Ana Emory 36recently posted her final goodbye on the CLC Facebook page. She says…

“Today I say goodbye after four years of unforgettable experiences. Feelings found, but above all, a deep thank you to all the people who through these years I have known, have helped me, corrected and supported.
To every family father, to every volunteer, to every student I say thank you and wish you growth and prosperity in the most human program I have ever known. Thank you to all the people who provide selfless support of time and money for this program to hold. Thanks to the board of directors.
Ana yancy

Ana Yancy with Daughter

Thanks to Arthur Broady and all the friends of copey, who despite the distance, collaborate and identify with each of our purposes.
I’m following a dream, but with the certainty that these years have turned me not only into a better professional but a better human being. With a deeply grateful heart and with a thousand memories.”
Ana Yancy

From all the “Friends” Ana touched along her journey with the CLC, “Thank You”! 

Maliek Broady…!

My oldest grandson, Maliek, played his final regular season football game for the University of Nevada last Saturday. Game day was also Senior Day and several family members and friends attended the game to share “Senior Day”.  Nevada lost in overtime but still seem to have a great chance of being invited to a bowl game during the Christmas season.  Maliek.xx

Being a grandpa means you can be proud of your grandchildren for anything. And, I am often proud! The past few days in Reno sharing time with family and friends and especially time with Maliek and his brother Mykel have been very special.

Maliek arrived at the University of Nevada as a “walk on” out of his desire to be a member of the football team. After two years of personal determination and devotion to his dream of  playing college football, he was awarded a very precious scholarship which are not just handed out. He earned it and this alone speaks volumes about his willingness to sacrifice, to hold fast to his dream, meet all the obstacles in his path, and have the power of faith. There are many life-lessons played out in Maliek’s journey to “Senior Day”.

Maliek Broady. rev. 2

So hats off to a really wonderful grandson who has completed his college journey as an excellent student, a really decent young man, well-mannered, well-adjusted, and academically successful in spite of all the demands imposed on him as a student athlete.

Maliek reminds me that dreams are powerful and important. Whether on the football field or sitting in a learning center in some remote part of Central America, young people have dreams.

Our job is to care…to motivate…to inspire! We can be engaged to guide young folks through those wonderful life-lessons. Helping in small ways produces big results. I continue to remind us of the motto we adopted nearly six years ago as it seems more and more appropriate to our efforts as “Friends of Copey”.

zzzBanner of FOC

“When many will do just a little…A lot will get done for Kids!”

Family Illness Continues!

Harold Evans (my uncle), who resides in Hampton, Virginia has been reported having experienced a stroke following Thanksgiving Day. He is in need of prayer and I call on all my “Friends” and prayer warriors to get busy with prayers. AMEN!

 

 

 

Dr. Stephen and Ms. Edeltraut Gilgan-Hunt…Key Friends!

Dr. Stephen and Ms. Edeltraut Gilgan-Hunt, residents of Asheville, North Carolina, are the third among the recently named “Key Friends” who have provided unique and significant support to “Friends of Copey”. I am extremely pleased to honor both Stephen and Edeltraut for their devoted support over the full term of our “Friends of Copey” project.

Stephen and I attended Emory & Henry College (E&H) together 50 years ago. Stephen, a 1971 E&H College graduate, continued to earn his Ph.D from the University of Virginia and enjoyed a distinguished career in service to our country. He spent 30 years in the United States Department of Education after a stint teaching and conducting research in the private sector. Near the end of his long and distinguished career in government, he enjoyed a close affiliation with the United States Department of State and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Council of Europe where he was responsible for a 56 country education information network. He worked on projects which deepened his understanding of Third World education systems and their problems.

Stephen.3

Stephen and Edeltraut

Edeltraut’s background is also very unique and impressive. Her career in the World Bank’s Africa Division involved projects across that continent concerning economic development, water resources, project management, and related social issues including education.

Both Stephen and Edeltraut have traveled extensively in Africa and Europe providing them both an up-close and first-hand understanding of Third World education systems and educational barriers challenging people from Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Dr. Earl G. Hunt, Jr.EH college

My relationship with Stephen actually has roots before we attended college together. Stephen’s father, Dr. Earl G. Hunt, was E&H College President from 1956 to 1964 and played a key role in the racial integration of the college. President Hunt’s careful and deliberate efforts resulted in Afro-Americans enrolling in E&H College in the mid 1960’s despite much reluctance from the surrounding community, the college’s Board of Trustees, and at great risk to his professional career.

In 1966, two years after President Hunt left the college, I was the first Afro-American male to enroll full-time at E&H College. I benefitted directly from President Hunt’s earlier decisive, determined, and unrelenting commitment to integration during the time most southern and mid-Atlantic segregated small liberal arts colleges showed very little interest. President Hunt was among the very few college Presidents during his time willing to go all in for integration. Stephen.xx

Then, as fate would have it, President Hunt’s son, Stephen and I attended E&H College together. Stephen, similar to his father’s devotion to integration, also embarked on equal educational opportunities throughout his professional career and has continued to advocate for justice and rights even as a current member of E&H College’s Board of Trustees.

The Legacy Continues…!

When the first call went out for support to “Friends of Copey”, Stephen and Edeltraut were among the first to respond. They have been devoted supporters of “Friends of Copey” since day one. Their financial and non-financial support has been consistent and generous.

Stephen says, “when Scrapper invited us to become involved with Copey, we were and remain enthusiastic. The Copey project has enabled us to continue our involvement with the development in poorer societies into retirement. Scrapper’s leadership and the dedication of Copey’s citizens continue to impress us and justify all that we do. We are proud to partner with my old college friend and wish Copey all the best.”

The quality of support we “Friends of Copey” have been blessed with is never in question. “Friends of Copey” has successfully pooled some of the best and most talented “friends” around to support a very uncommon mission. I get to see and to know all “active friends” as we move along with our efforts year after year. In other words, I have the “best seat in the house!”  And, I can fully attest to the fact…”Friends of Copey” are different…and the best!

Stephen and Edeltraut are wonderful “Key Friends”. It is a truly unique history because our history begins before our paths ever crossed and that is not very common. But, I have so many special stories about the devoted “friends” who have remained supportive. I hope to share more of these with you in the future.

Thanks for making a difference!

 

 

 

 

Dr. Celeste Gaia…Key Friend!

Dr. Celeste Gaia, Director of International Education at Emory & Henry College since 2007, is Emory & Henry College’s master-mind behind the now popular “Pathway Project”.

Celeste Gaia

Dr. Celeste Gaia

She received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Tennessee and her academic work and body of professional publications are substantial. She is highly respected among her peers, colleagues, students and others within the academic community.

As the Director of International Education and a strong advocate for global citizenship education and cultural exchange, she is the college’s strongest advocate for study abroad programs. Also, she is the campus liaison for international students.

I first met Dr. Gaia in 2012. Several of Dr. Gaia’s students had just returned from their study abroad assignments and were the dinner guest speakers at an Emory & Henry College Board affair, describing their very positive international educational experiences. I was struck by the excitement and enthusiasm the students expressed as each student shared their life-changing experience while abroad.

WOW! During that dinner presentation…the thought/vision struck me! If “we” could bring Copey students to Emory & Henry College, perhaps they also would return home to Costa Rica with life-changing experiences.

Church service

2019 Pathway Project Students

In 2013, I discussed in detail my vision with Dr. Gaia. She agreed to partner with me in an effort to develop such an opporunity for the Copey students.

Necessary authorizations/permissions, room and board, course tuition, hosts, local travel, and other logistical arrangements where needed to host Copey students and chaperones on the E&H campus. Dr. Gaia spearheaded this effort requiring much dedicated time and attention.

My challenges were a little different. I had to help Angela, the Copey Learning Center Director, sell the idea to the Copey community. Culturally, this is not typically a familiar proposition. Getting permission from parents to allow their students to travel to America to unknown destinations and be in the care of unknown “friends” would not be an easy task.

Also, there was the small issue of funds needed to support the transportation costs to America and back to Copey. I had to launch a fundraiser and we successfully raised the funds to cover the costs.

In June 2016, the first two Copey students arrived in the USA as our guests to spend approximately two weeks on campus.

Angela with students

Xavier, Casey, and director Angela

Thanks to Dr. Gaia, there is more to the story.

While establishing the “pathway” for Copey students to visit the E&H College campus, Dr. Gaia went a step further. She also established a process for E&H students to travel to Copey for a four or five week volunteer assignment. The E&H students to make the first journey were Xavier and Casey…very special students!

Today in 2019, nine Copey students plus chaperones have journeyed to the E&H College campus and seven E&H students have served as volunteers in Copey.

Kara Stewart.1

Kara

Kara Stewart, the 2018 E&H “Pathway Project” student, wrote these words on her final day in Copey before returning back to the USA: “This is so bittersweet for me because I miss my friends and family like crazy, but boy I wish you all could just come here. This place [Copey] is truly incredible.”  Today, the “Pathway Project” is a truly amazing success story.

Without question, Dr. Gaia is a real “Key Friend” of Copey! In only four years, sixteen students have had life-changing experiences similar to the Copey experience Kara describes…largely due to the willingness and determination of one “Key Friend” who saw the vision and agreed to help.

Dr. Gaia…you are a Key Friend who “makes a difference”.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. C. Franklin Church…Key Friend

Veteran’s Day…!

Remembering my fallen friends:  Danny Watkins, Michael Charles, Kenny Delaney, and Frank Campbell, Jr.. Each served and gave their all! Also, remembering all my other fellow veterans, here and those that have passed on.

Key Friend…!

In a previous Post, I identified three “Key Friends” recognized for having an extraordinary impact on “Friends of Copey’s” success. This week I highlight one of the three and provide some of the background and reasons for the distinction of “Key Friend”.

Dr. C. Franklin Church has worked in the medical field over 30 years. He spent time in the clinical and the administrative fields, both in practice and in the health plan perspective. He received his medical degree and postgraduate training at Duke University. His work

Dr. Lin Church                                 AGB Co-Chair

Dr. Lin Church: AGB Co-Chair

history includes family physician and medical service with a health care provider. Other titles include founding partner of Raleigh Family Physicians, Senior VP and NC Medical Director affiliated with United Healthcare Group Company.  And, he is a former President of the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians. Even today while in semi-retirement, he is the Chief Medical Officer for IndUShealth, located in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Dr. Church’s connection with my family goes back much further than his days of medicine. In the early 1940’s, when Dr. Church was still a toddler, he and his sibblings were under the watchful eye and care of my mother while my father was employed by Dr. Church’s father. The relationship between my mother and Dr. Church continued right up to the day my mother passed away in 2013.

Before officially launching the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund (AGBSF) in late 2013, I asked Dr. Church to co-chair this scholarship project with me. He agreed and both his moral and financial support has been a true blessing. Last Febuary 2019, we completed our sixth year of the AGBSF. We, “Friends of Copey”, estimate the scholarship funds raised has provided financial assistance to the equivalent of 100 students or more.

Although this is a staggering level of support provided voluntarily, we believe the more remarkable benefit has been our ability to help the Copey Learning Center keep their educational doors open over these six years. In doing so, our support has allowed both those capable of paying and those needing some help to have this rare opportunity in the rural community to learn English. Lin church

Dr. Church’s reputation as a leader in the medical profession is well established. And for me, he is also well established as a “Friend of Copey”.  The AGBSF would not have gone this far and done this much without his close and personal interest and support. To have him as co-chair has provided the scholarship fund and other projects we support, the stability and sustainability needed to be effective and successful.

And, working together to honor the memory of Anne G. Broady is an added blessing. We know she would be amazed to see our unanticipated alliance working closely with 2,500 miles of separation for a cause that is even outside this country…all done to honor her memory. Thanks Lin!

A Follow Up Note!

Thanks to you who sent such warm and heartfelt messages regarding the passing of Lou Peery, my dear friend. I appreciate having some of the very best people out there being “Friends”.

Last but Certainly Not the Least! katherine-johnson-academy-2

 

Katherine Johnson continues to rack up awards and recognitions. This week, President Trump signed the “Hidden Figures Congressional Gold medal Act” into Law. This law will serve to honor Katherine (age 101), Dorothy Vaughan, Christine Darden, and Mary Jackson for their contributions to NASA during the Space Race.

Lou Peery…My Friend

“Though it is hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know, that a life-time’s not too long to live as Friends.”      By Michael W. Smith

This is now my second week in east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. I reported last week the news about my long time friend, Lucian “Lou” Peery, whose medical condition was not good. He passed away at home October 30th at the young age of 72.  2222222222

Gene Gabriel, our fraternity brother, and the third member of this close trio, joined me as we gathered by Lou’s bedside to say our collective goodbyes on Sunday October 27. We three have been as close as brothers since college and it was important we three have our time together…apparently our last time together. It was nearly magical as we spoke to Lou and knew Lou was aware that we had come to visit him. Lou understood everything perfectly. I might add that the odds of this happening as it did can only be explained by way of “divine intervention”.

My initial introduction to Lou dates back to 1965 when we were both high school seniors on opposing football teams. Because of events at this football game involving both Lou and me, it should have been a clue that one day Lou and I would again meet. I enrolled in Emory & Henry College in 1966 and in 1967, Lou arrived as a transfer student. We would have the distinction of being the first two and only Afro-American males and athletes enrolled at Emory & Henry College. We instantly became friends, teammates, roommates, and fraternity brothers. We even joined the US Air Force following our graduation from college.

After joining the military, there would always be at least 2,500 miles between us. When Lou’s military service time ended, he returned home to Tazewell, Virginia. When my service time ended, I became a resident of Anchorage, Alaska and later Washington state. The distance did not matter as the next 45 years involved phone calls and visits which sustained our relationship until the end.  Lou Peery

Yesterday, during Lou’s going-home service, Larry Blankenship, a long-time friend, spoke about Coach Lou’s tremendous impact on his community, the countless number of kids he coached, and the many lives Coach Lou touched. Over his 35 years coaching, several of Coach Lou’s players made it to the professional baseball league because of the early instruction and guidance Coach Lou provided. The size of this man inside and out earned him a status of a “giant” in his community. Larry did an outstanding job representing the community who knew and loved Lou the “Coach”.

I was also asked to speak and my message related to “friendship”. I had enjoyed a completely different connection to Lou than Larry and the community. Ours was much more personal and our distance apart demanded that we skip talking about careers and politics and many other matters. We had very little time or need to compare individual accomplishments. We had accumulated so many past memories and shared so many wild experiences, those areas were the places we would naturally default to.

I would spend 95% of the time just enjoying his company, his amazing humor, and his wonderful gift of joke telling which served to bring so much joy and laughter into the time we shared. And, even from a long distance, I knew what Larry spoke of regarding the “Coach”. I summed it up yesterday from my viewpoint in the following way:

  1. Lou lived a life of purpose. Although he spent 35 years as a high school baseball coach, he was far more than that. He was a light others would follow. He was an inspirational motivator, counselor, and had the ability to move players to be better today than yesterday….and better tomorrow than today. He led by example.
  2. Lou made a difference. He did not have the greatest tools, the greatest intellect, the best timing, and certainly Tazewell, Virginia may not have been the best location to build a successful career. But, Lou took each of these less than perfect conditions and did the miracles only those who have been ordained or called to do. It all resulted in the betterment of others. He made it all work and he made a difference.
  3. Lou lived life as a servant. In biblical terms, he served by putting others above self.  Although referred to often as a “giant” of a person in his community and he was a big man, Lou never thought he was larger or bigger than those he served each day.  The following is a local newscast regarding his service.

https://wvva.com/sport/top-sports-stories/2019/11/05/remembering-lou-peery-the-man-who-was-and-is-tazewell-baseball/

Lou being a very humble man and someone who prefered to have others stand in the bright light of  fame and success, it was difficult yesterday to play down the impact he had on his community and how important he was as my friend and brother. I hope he will forgive me for writing this post in his honor.

“Lean On The One!”

“If we don’t listen to everything that the spirit of God has to say, eventually we won’t hear anything.”     by  Mark Batterson, Pastor

“Wherever I am…I am near Friends of Copey”

This week I am on the other side of the country back in the wonderful southwest Virginia/east Tennessee area. I am here to attend my final Board of Trustees meeting at the Emory & Henry College (E&H College) and to bring to a close a very wonderful eight years. I will be saying farewell to many good friends and carrying away many positive memories. zzzEmory image 5

This does not mean E&H College will no longer be our partner. The various relationships and projects we have established with the Copey Learning Center will not cease. Not at all!. While on campus, I will be discussing the 2020 Pathway Project and will have meetings pertaining to two very special initiatives. These new special initiatives are possibly groundbreaking and exciting but it is far too early to share the details. So one door closing means another door may be opening.

“Let’s Pray!”

I am asking for prayers for my dear friend Lou Peery. As I am writing this Post, I am sitting in the Bristol Regional Hospital’s cafeteria. Upstairs on the fourth floor is my friend facing life-challenging medical issues. Plans are underway at this moment to return Lou back home where he will receive Hospice care. Lou and I have a long history as college roommates, football team members, fraternity brothers, and just close friends that began as far back as 1965. “Friends of Copey” pray for him and his family.

Some Good News!

This week’s update from the Copey Learning Center is positive. I skyped with Ana Yancy last Friday. The volunteer teachers for the 2020 year beginning March have been confirmed. I hope to get additional information on each later but I do know one is from Germany, another from the United Kingdom, and the third from Wisconsin. All this is encouraging and it includes the new Director coming on board soon. The year 2020 appears to be off to a great start.

I continue to thank the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund (AGBSF) early bird donors. These early donations serve to further our optimism and high expectations. If the trend continues, we may be 50% of our goal or higher with funds in hand when we officially open the campaign in early January.

Remember Brian?

Over the past few weeks, I have been exchanging emails again with Brian. RememberEmory 22  Brian? He was a 2018 Pathway Project recipient and a recipient of our AGBSF support. Brian is excited about his life and he has set highEMOry 37 educational and professional goals.

Brian represents a special type of success. Many of the older male students attending the Copey Learning Center are seriously challenged to stay in school and are challenged to consider non-traditional occupations. This explains why to date we have had only one male student participate in the Pathway Project. We keep working to change this condition.

I keep in touch with Brian because I press him to be a real effective “ambassador” and role model for other males attending the Copey Learning Center. Helping Brian to see he too can make a difference is a wonderful learning experience for him. Thanks Brian.

New Key Friends Announced!

Last week our first three new Key Friends were announced and I am trying to put the special Post together to properly introduce each one. Events leading up to my trip here to my current location overtook my time and opportunity. Stay tuned. If you want to know the names of those honored, check out last week’s Post. Thanks