Each spring, the center honors students, faculty, staff and local friends with outstanding commitment to serving their communities during The Elrod Center University Service Awards Banquet.
In 2015, 45,987 volunteer hours were logged by OBU students serving in various capacities. This night is special because we get to thank and pay tribute to these individuals that give so much to our campus and community.
Ouachita’s annual Elrod Awards celebrate community service
Ouachita Baptist University’s Elrod Center for Family and Community honored Rachel Wicker with the Cargill Leadership Fund Award at its annual University Community Service Awards banquet April 19. Many Ouachita students, faculty and staff were also commended for their service and community leadership during the past year.
“Tonight we celebrate lives of service,” said Judy Duvall, assistant director of the Elrod Center, welcoming those in attendance. “You are here tonight because serving is an integral part of your life, and when we honor you tonight, we are also honoring God, since your service reflects His character.”
“One of the mandates given to the Elrod Center 20 years ago was to recognize and celebrate service as a way to highlight its value to Ouachita and to society as a whole,” noted Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international engagement and director of the Elrod Center. “The awards evening marks the culmination of a year of service and provides an opportunity for Ouachita to celebrate its students’ service and to provide volunteers an opportunity to see the larger picture of service of which they are a part.”
The Cargill Leadership Fund Award is an annual award presented to a student who has shown exceptional leadership and service during his or her time at Ouachita. Rachel Wicker, a senior Christian studies/Christian missions and mass communications double major from Benton, Ark., has served in a variety of ways while at OBU and has worked at the Elrod Center since her freshman year.
“Her work has been nothing short of excellent,” said Duvall, who presented the award. “Rachel has carried out her duties with diligence, attention to detail, joy and compassion.”
Duvall also commended Wicker on her four years as a Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team member, saying, “Much of the success of this day can be accredited to her behind-the-scenes work. Rachel has consistently carried out her duties on the team with humility and joy.”
From the beginning of her time at Ouachita, Wicker also has been actively involved in Campus Ministries and the International Club. “Since the moment she was on our campus, Rachel cared about other students, particularly those who might struggle to adjust to life at Ouachita,” explained Duvall. “She is an absolute joy to be around, full of love for the Lord and for others and full of wisdom. She’s very deserving of this award, and we’re proud to present it to her.”
“The award was really special to me because, during my time at Ouachita, I have loved learning about serving others well,” Wicker said. “Getting the chance to do some of that through the Elrod Center has been so rewarding.”
Dr. Ben Sells, Ouachita president-elect, congratulated the students on “amazing service.”
“Give yourself to serving God’s purpose in your generation. Some of those purposes will be the same as to some of us who are older. But some of those purposes will be particular to your time and to your community,” Sells said. “You have been doing that because you have been rooted in this community, and so wherever you go, give yourself to that community. That is the only community you can live in at a time. Give yourself to the Lord. You will do a lot of good. You will honor the Lord. You will point people to Jesus.”
“The Elrod Center for Family and Community is the last remaining vestige of my relationship with Ouachita and I am increasingly thankful that Betty Lou and I had the means 20 years ago to endow this center in its beginning,” said Ouachita Chancellor Dr. Ben Elrod in his closing remarks. “It has been a great honor to have the name of this center. It has exactly the right purpose, to help those unable to help themselves and to teach young people to adopt servanthood as their lifestyle after the example of Christ.”
Ouachita Baptist University established the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community in 1997 to encourage, coordinate and facilitate public service, volunteerism and community engagement throughout the state and region. For more information about the programs of the Elrod Center, visit www.obu.edu/elrod or call (870) 245-5320.
By Anna Hurst // Photo above: Rachel Wicker, second from left, is awarded the Cargill Leadership Fund Award by Elrod Center staff members, including, from left, Judy Duvall, Leigh Anne McKinney and James Taylor. Photo by Grace Finley.
Other Ouachita faculty, staff and students honored during the banquet include:
TaxServe: John and Yvonne Cloud, Dana Dixon, Logan Hampton and Dalal Salah.
Kluck Student Enrichment Grants, Fall 2015: Morgan Allen and James Taylor on behalf of Women’s Soccer for a team Bible study; Sarah Bolin on behalf of International Outreach; Jace Bradshaw and Dr. Tim Knight on behalf of Tri Beta biological honor society and American Chemical Society to plant trees on campus; Stoni Butler and Dr. Lori Hensley on behalf of Alpha Chi national college honor society to purchase art supplies for local primary school art classes; Emily Gammon and Judy Duvall on behalf of Tiger Serve Day to buy socks and candy for faculty and staff to encourage TSD participation; and Alexandra Lawson and Bryan McKinney on behalf of Enactus for a Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack.
Kluck Student Enrichment Grants, Spring 2016: Stoni Butler and Dr. Lori Hensley on behalf of Alpha Chi national college honor society to purchase children’s books for the Fun Time Learning Center and Perritt Primary Pre-K; Sara Driskill and Dr. Jennifer Fayard on behalf of Chi Rho Phi women’s social club for a project benefiting Partners Against Trafficking Humans;Bethany Gere, Nadalie Gill, Shelby Spears and Adam Wheat on behalf of the All-Night Theatre Festival for printing, food and supplies; Alexandra Lawson and Bryan McKinney on behalf of Enactus for a Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack; and Stephanie Westberg and James Taylor on behalf of Backyard Bible Club to meet the needs of Camp Wamp.
International Student Service Awards: International Student of the Year – Jacob Moreno; English as a Second Language Program – Moeka Fujita, Haruko (Sunny) Nishida and Kanako Yasutake.
Peake Partnership Tutors: Emily Bradley, Emily Cooper, Rachel Dilatush, Hannah Kuhn, Kaytlin Mackie, Jordan Martinez, Jessica McCauley, Matt Miller, Sarah Pettit, Kacie Richards, Spencer Soles, Tori Stratton, Laura Ward and Ashley Woolridge.
Peake Partnership Senior Awards: Haylee Garland (2013-2016), Emily Harris (2014-2016) and Hal Hoggard (2015).
America Reads Tutors: Lynsie Church, Danielle Droste, Jamie Flowers, Peyton Hutchins, Danielle Jayroe, Hanna Schulz, Lauren Terry, Kaitlyn Thomas and Victoria Williams.
America Reads Senior Awards: Layne Castleman (2014-2015), Abby Huggins (2014-2016), Cassie Lynch (2013-2015) and Hannah Shull (2014-2015).
America Counts Tutors: Tori Golden, Taylor Graves, Hannah Gray, Lizzie Hall, Erin Lundy, Montana McAdams, Hannah Pearce, Alexa Reed, Reagan Rucker, Paige Snow and McKenzie Wells.
America Counts Senior Awards: Kaela Butler (2014-2015), Emily Gammon (2015), Alli Goodson (2015), Nathan Hall (2015), Bonnie Magee (2013-2016), Ashlyn Meece (2013-2015) and Mollie Taylor (2014-2015).
ElderServe: Mattie Alexander, McKenna Arnold, Meredith Bolin, Kesley Brown, Hannah Bunch, Elise Cobb, Weston Cronan, Alyssa Delker, Rachel Dilatush, Isabel Dodds, Andrea Foster, Arden Hall, Sarah Hays, Libby Hilliard, Drew Holland, Peyton Hutchins, Luke Jamison, Ashley Lovely, Britney Marshall, Jessica McCauley, Marissa Pilcher, Jessica Saunders, Ashley Sharpe, Meredith Shockey, Bo Sutton, Carilyn Tarrant, Logan Turner and Kanako Yasutake.
ElderServe Senior Awards: Kaela Butler, Morgan Cummins, Rachel Gaddis, Sydney Heslep, Bethany Johnson, Robert Lewis, Hannah Osborne, Audrey Rodriguez and Lauren Snow.
Tiger Serve Day Leadership Team: Tristan Benzon, Titus Brooks, Seth Bubbus, Brook East, Amber Easterly, Jamie Flowers, Damaris Garcia, Adam Graves, Staci Gore, Will Henley, Kyle Jackson, Hannah James, Jacob Jenkins, Haley Martin, Madi Polk, Sean Ray, Becca Robinson, Chad Satchell and Kristopher Torres.
Tiger Serve Day Senior Leadership Awards: Tiger Serve Day Kindness Award – Nick Archer; Tiger Serve Day Friendship Award – Michael Butler; Voice of Tiger Serve Day Award – Emily Gammon; Tiger Serve Day Energizer Award – Brent Northington; Heart of Tiger Serve Day Award – Reagan Parsons; Tiger Serve Day Creative Expression Award – Treslyn Shipley; Spirit of Tiger Serve Day Award – Rachel Wicker; and Face of Tiger Serve Day Award – David Willhite.
TranServe (75 or more hours of service for the academic year): Sydney Allen, Kimberley Attaway, Jace Bradshaw, Claudia Brizuela, Sarah Davis, Lizzie Hall, Anna Kumpuris, Jessica McCauley, Nonsi Nxumalo, Estefanie Perez, Elva Rosas, Josh Rubin, Lauren Snow and McKenzie Wells.
Campus Ministries Leadership Team: Kimberley Attaway, Sarah Bolin, Titus Brooks, Will Combs, Danielle Droste, Kaytee Flurry, Madison Foster, Damaris Garcia, Staci Gore, Libby Hilliard, Courtney Kelley, Ashley Lovely, Haley Martin, Marissa Pilcher, Ruth Russell, Meredith Shockey, Hannah Schulz, Dillon Thomas, Angella Valencia and Stephanie Westberg.
Campus Ministries Senior Leadership Awards: Joseph Breckenridge, Emily Harris, Scott Hartley, Gracen Kelley, Anna Kumpuris, Ragan Ledbetter, Cassie Lynch, Brent Northington, Steven Rutherford, Sadie Sasser, Rachel Wicker and David Willhite.