• Bears react in love and service following last week’s North Texas tornadoes

    North Texas storms, April 2012When a round of severe weather that included tornadoes and baseball-sized hail) hit North Texas last week, our thoughts of course went to the thousands of alumni and students’ families living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. (Chances are you saw the video pictured at right on the news or Internet.)

    Below are a couple of stories about how the Baylor family reacted to the devastation in love and service. They were relayed to us by Dr. Martha Lou Scott, BS ’71, EDD ’84, associate vice president for student life, who contacted some of the Bears living in the worst-hit areas to make sure all was okay.

    “I was in the computer lab catching up on homework,” wrote Truett Seminary student Mike Quinlan, “when I received a text from a friend who lives in D.C., Ryan Everson, BA ’05, telling me that he was praying for me in light of the approaching storms. I live in the DFW area and commute to Baylor twice a week to attend Truett Seminary; in Waco for the day, I was oblivious to the storms.

    “I quickly called my wife, Brooke Quinlan, BS ’99, who along with our one-year-old, Truett, was in the process of taking cover amidst the sound of tornado sirens. In lieu of class, I spent the next hour calling and checking on relatives and eventually trying to coordinate clean-up efforts. At the close of the hour, Truett Professor D. Steven Porter led our class in an extended time prayer for me, my family and those in the path and affected by the storms. In the end, everyone was safe and my family only suffered material losses. I am grateful for genuine care and concern of Baylor students, alumni, staff and administration during this time.”

    “I teach at Kennedale High School,” wrote Elisabeth Brooke, a doctoral candidate in Baylor’s School of Education. “I’m glad to say my home was untouched… My school community is another story. One of the tornadoes touched down on our football field (no pun intended), bounced over the school building where we were in duck-and-cover mode, and hit the neighborhood across the street. Many of our students’ homes were hit, but none of the students were injured.

    “Our principal, Rita Elrod-Whatley, BS ’90, volunteered our campus as a drop-off site for anyone who wanted to donate water, non-perishable foods and clothing. We had a great outpouring from the communities of Kennedale and Arilington, both of which are served by our district. Our students went out on Tuesday and Wednesday after school, helping clean up debris and delivering donated items. On Saturday a group of faculty and students went out to deliver even more. At this time, we are accepting donations of gift cards. If anyone in the Baylor family is looking for a way to help, please contact Rita Whatley at whatleyr<at>kisdtx.net or by phone at 817-563-8101.

    “I have been so grateful to my colleagues and professors at Baylor. Many of them texted or emailed to check up on me. I find myself saying more and more that it’s worth the three-hour round-trip drive to be part of a community like Baylor and specifically like the School of Education.

    How great to be part of a university family that truly cares for its people in such ways!

    Sic ’em, Bears!

    [4/20/12 update: I’m also told that former Baylor baseball all-American Chris Durbin, now a member of the Grand Prairie Police Department, was a first responder to the storms in Lancaster (south of Dallas). Yet another way Baylor Bears are serving their neighbors!]

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