Love INC Annual Church Meeting and Volunteer Banquet
On May 5th, Southside Baptist Church hosted the 24th Annual Meeting and Volunteer Banquet for Love INC. This was a very exciting evening and we give a SHOUT OUT to the church for being such gracious and helpful hosts. The evening began with Al Ross, Love INC Board Member and Pastor of Calvary Chapel here in Lufkin, as the emcee. Al always does a great job in making the evening fun and exciting for everyone.
The entire banquet was exciting, beginning with the Praise Dancers from Overcomers Through Faith Church. Overcomers Through Faith Pastor Oscar Dixon let us know that the young ladies practice five hours a week and learn two new dances per month. They did a great job and set the stage for an inspiring evening.
Then, Al introduced Love INC Executive Director Dr. Jerry Spann who presented a new award, “Those Who Made A Difference” for churches. Dr. Spann stated that every time a need is met by a volunteer from a local church a difference is made in a person’s life. This year three churches were recognized: First Presbyterian Church, Pastor Dr. Brian Wiggins; First Christian Church, Pastors Steve and Jennifer Lantis; and St. Cyprians Episcopal Church, Father Ralph Morgan. These three churches have met the needs of over 190 families for rental, medical, and financial assistance totaling over $32,000.00. Each of these churches also provides monthly financial assistance to Love INC.
Larry Lasiter, Love INC Board President and representing Lufkin First Assembly of God, called the business meeting to order and asked for ballots for the election of Board members. Those elected for a three year term ending in May 2019 were:
Rev. Aubrey Knox First Baptist Church
Mike Jones Denman Avenue Baptist Church
Tommy Deaton Harmony Hill Baptist Church
Roy Reyes Temple Bautista
Rev. Edward Thomas Long Chapel CME
Larry then presented the Board Member of the Year Award to Gloria Holt, who represents First United Methodist Church of Lufkin. She has served on the Love INC Board for three years and has organized the annual meeting for several years. She also spearheads her church’s ongoing donation of fans and for the elderly and disabled in our communities.
Following this presentation, Larry introduced Board Treasurer Ken Smith, representing First Church of the Nazarene, for the annual finance report. Ken explained 2015 finances and noted that since the inception of Love INC the communities of Angelina County have provided over $83 million in goods and services, and over three million volunteer hours from the local churches and agencies, toward meeting the needs of those in our area that have come upon hard times.
Al introduced Yulonda Richard, Executive Director of CISC, who gave a great report on how CISC continues to meet the needs of families in our communities through the food bank. Each week families come to CISC for food for their families. Yulonda and all the staff and volunteers at CISC are great assets to Angelina County who work daily to ensure families will be fed with fresh foods.
Al then presented the “Agency of the Year Award” to Burke, one of our agency partners. The award was accepted by Jake Squiers, Chief Operations Officer at Burke and the keynote speaker for the evening. Mr. Squiers gave insight to why our partnership works so well for the mentally challenged and the addicted in our communities, many of whom have lost hope. Burke provides a means for hope. What a great blessing to have Burke for those who have specific needs in specific areas of their lives.
Next, Jerry Spann presented the “Business of the Year Award” to McWilliams & Son Heating and Air-Conditioning. The company approached Love INC wanting to help those in need of work on their heating and cooling systems but without the ability to afford it. During the past year they have worked on several systems for families to ensure they have the comfort they need. Thank you McWilliams & Son for reaching out to those with this very special need in our communities.
Then Dr. Spann presented anniversary awards to volunteers and staff who have given their time and talents to meet the needs of the needy and disadvantaged in our communities at the Love INC office:
One Year Anniversary:
Linda Welch Denman Avenue Baptist Church
Helen Price Mt Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church
Lynder McGowen Long Chapel CME
Charlene Meadows First Church of the Nazarene and Love INC Admin Assistant
Dr. Spann presented a special one year anniversary award for Margie Kibble, Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church, to her family and Pastor M. E. Lyons the day after the Banquet. Margie went home to Glory on Sunday, May 1st. She will be missed and we celebrate her life of putting Love In The Name of Christ in action by volunteering to help to those in need.
Five Year Anniversary:
Jim Myers Denman Avenue Baptist Church Love INC Volunteer Coordinator/Right Things Right Ministry
Jacqui Johnston St. Cyprians Episcopal Church
Following these presentations, the “Volunteer of the Year” award was presented to Jeremiah Campbell, Program Director at the Lufkin Dream Center. Jeremiah came through the Dream Center as a resident, then resident assistant and to his position today. As a volunteer, it never matters what the need is, he will do all things possible to help meet that need. He truly does put wind into the sails of 1 John 3:18, “let us stop just saying we love people: let us really love them and show it by our actions.” Thank you, Jeremiah Campbell, for your willingness to share the love of God with others.
This was one of the most exciting Annual Meetings we have had. Gloria Holt coordinated with MarTeres Tea House who did a great job catering the meal. Board members Billie Lamb, representing Faith Family Church, and Betty Preston, representing St Cyprians Episcopal Church, arranged for attractive table settings and centerpieces. This year we had 30 church representatives attend. Each one is a hero to people in need.