November is National Adoption Month

Let BCFS Help Your Family Grow!

November is National Adoption Month, an opportunity for families to consider opening their hearts and homes to children in the U.S. foster care system. For prospective adoptive parents, BCFS Human Health Services is here to help navigate the process and celebrate the value of stable, supporting environments for kids.

In the United States, there are 402,378 children in foster care — and 107,000 available for adoption, according to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (2013). For Texans, BCFS provides matching services to connect the right children with loving homes.

“Growing up in a safe, loving home is something every child deserves to experience,” said Sonya Thompson, executive director of residential services for BCFS Health and Human Services. “Whether someone is becoming a parent for the first time or for another time, adding to a family through adoption is one of the most heroic and rewarding things a person can do.”

According to the 2013 National Adoption Attitudes Survey, about 84 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion on foster care adoption, but only 24 percent consider adoption in any form. If just 2 percent of the many millions considering adoption followed through, every child in the foster care system would have a home. Unfortunately, negative misconceptions persist.

Children who enter foster care do so through no fault of their own, often as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Nearly 30 percent of children exit foster care by age 18 without having found a permanent family.

BCFS is honored to act as a liaison on parents’ behalf to facilitate adoption in the San Antonio, Texas region. Contrary to popular belief, foster care and adoption are neither complicated nor costly. The State of Texas provides a streamlined, transparent process that offers financial support to many adoptive families. This includes waived court fees, Medicaid health coverage, free college tuition to public Texas universities, and monthly stipends for those that adopt siblings or older children.

“Many people don’t realize just how easy it is to adopt,” said Thompson. “If your heart is in the right place and you’re capable of making a child part of your family, BCFS can help get the puzzle pieces in order from there.”

If your puzzle is missing a vital piece — one you believe could be filled by an addition to your family — please feel free to email fostercare@BCFS.net or adoption@BCFS.net for more information, and spread the word on adoption’s many benefits to families and children across the nation.

BCFS Names Reyna EVP-Public Affairs & Communications

Photo: Marilu Reyna

SAN ANTONIO – BCFS has named Marilu Reyna as Executive Vice President − Public Affairs & Communications. In this role, Reyna will oversee government relations, media, communications, global branding, marketing and development for BCFS − an international system of health and human service non-profit organizations that serve children, families and individuals in need across the U.S. and abroad.

Reyna is taking over for Krista Piferrer, who is stepping down to spend more time with her family and young children after leading the agency’s public affairs and media efforts for more than seven years.

“BCFS charges forward, with great urgency and without hesitation to fill voids and address the unmet needs – whatever they may be – of children, families and communities in need around the globe. With this mission, it takes a quick, strategic thinker and keen communicator to be able to tell the story of our diverse work to audiences that span from children and families in the neighborhoods we serve, to local, statewide and national media outlets, to congressman and senators and beyond,” says Kevin Dinnin, BCFS President & CEO. “Krista spearheaded important efforts that defined and refined the image of our BCFS system, and I look forward to Marilu bringing this work to the next level.”

Reyna joins BCFS with more than 25 years of communications, marketing, and development experience in non-profit organizations and institutions of higher education. Most recently, she served as the Associate Vice President for University Communications and Special Projects for Texas A&M University-San Antonio, where she directed and supervised the institution’s public relations, media relations, advertising, branding and visual identity, university website, social media, publications, and special events.

Reyna holds a Master’s degree in Communication Studies from St. Mary’s University and is certified in nonprofit management.

For more information about BCFS, visit www.DiscoverBCFS.net.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

 

 

BCFS hosts 3rd annual Men’s Breakfast in Kerrville

On Thursday, November 12, BCFS Health and Human Services brought Kerrville men (and women) together at the third annual Men’s Breakfast, featuring a classic car show, pro-football player, live music and steak and eggs – all to benefit Hill Country youth and families in need.
Tyrone Smith, former NFL defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers and former Baylor University Cornerback and Team Captain, led the keynote address entitled Know Your Purpose. The Tivy High School varsity football team was among the 220 guests. The George Eychner Quintet performed while guests perused a classic car show at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. A hearty steak and eggs feast was on the menu as well, catered by Rails.
Several youth from foster care and the juvenile justice system who are in BCFS Health and Human Services’ programs attended the breakfast to personally thank donors and sponsors for their support.
The breakfast raised more than $30,000 to benefit Kerrville youth and families served by BCFS Health and Human Services. Major sponsors for the breakfast included Trade Mark-Carrier, JM Lowe, Kerrville Public Utility Board, Family Practice Associates and Camp Mystic.
“When we provide young men and women with educational and economic opportunity, and serve as a stabilizing force in their tumultuous lives, it’s good for our entire community,” said Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie, development director for BCFS Health and Human Services. “The men and women who enjoyed breakfast with us are part of that stabilizing force for the next generation in the Hill Country.”
BCFS Health and Human Services helps youth from the foster care and juvenile justice systems; families with young children and teens; and young adults struggling with homelessness, poverty, substance abuse and unemployment. The organization provides counseling, education and housing assistance, mentorships, case management, parent support groups, child abuse prevention programs, and life skills trainings.
“We are so proud to be part of a town that sees value and potential in each and every life. It’s wonderful to see time-and-time again how invested our community members are in making sure we reach out our hands to help everyone who wants to work hard to reach their dreams – regardless of the challenge,” said Brenda Thompson, BCFS Health and Human Services’ local director.
For more information about BCFS’ work in the Hill Country, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/Kerrville or call (830) 896-0993.

BCFS Names Segura and Tatro Co-Chief Operating Officers

BCFS, a global system of six separate 501c3 non-profit organizations, has named Asennet Segura EVP/COO – Community, International & Residential Operations, and Kari Tatro EVP/COO – Administration, Education & Emergency Operations for the growing system headquartered in San Antonio.

Photo: Asennet Segura

Segura has been with the organization for more than 18 years, and as EVP/COO of Community, International & Residential Operations she will oversee all aspects of the agency’s residential system. This encompasses emergency shelters for children who have been abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families; foster care and adoption services; medical services; early childhood education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Since joining the organization in 1997, Segura has been one of the chief drivers of the growth and expansion within the agency, overseeing the development and implementation of significant programs from coast-to-coast and around the world.

Photo: Kari TatroKari Tatro is an 8-year veteran with the BCFS system and one of the nation’s foremost experts on inclusionary planning to meet the needs of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs during disasters. As EVP/COO – Administration, Education & Emergency Operations, Tatro will oversee several internal agency functions including information technology, resource and asset management, procurement, property management, and personnel learning and development. Tatro will also manage multiple external-facing programs including BCFS Education Services, which provides early education services to ready young learners for academic achievement and success in school, as well as BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division – a national leader and partner of local, state and federal government entities in preparedness and response efforts.

Under Tatro’s guidance and supervision, the agency maintains a multidisciplinary all-hazards Incident Management Team comprised of more than 200 highly-trained and experienced emergency management personnel throughout the nation, a 200-person Disaster Medical Staffing Team and a 250-person Disaster Case Management Team. Additionally, Tatro provides oversight of disaster response resources and assetts including a robust fleet of emergency response vehicles ready to deploy at a moment’s notice with two state-of-the-art mobile command platforms, medical mobile units, shelter support units, advanced satellite communications and cellular equipment, and a massive supply of cached resources warehoused by BCFS EMD with an exceptional logistical supply chain to meet all incident needs.

“When an organization is as far-reaching as BCFS, operating in high-stakes environments on a daily basis, ensuring continuity of operations and quality control is not just critical, it’s a no-fail charge. That is the level of commitment, management and leadership Segura and Tatro bring to the table every day, 24/7,” said Kevin Dinnin, President and CEO of BCFS. “Both of these individuals take an ‘owner’s attitude’ in everything they do and have a proven ability to manage complex programs, a large workforce, sizable budgets, and – most importantly – they have my full trust and confidence in their ability to manage and guide our organization.”


BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

BCFS EMD Names Maher as Chief of Staff

Photo: Lauren Maher

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division (BCFS EMD) has named Lauren Maher as Chief of Staff. In this role, Maher will work closely with executive leadership and subject matter experts in the BCFS system and its Emergency Management Division to develop new projects that support the emergency management and preparedness efforts of local, state and federal government and private business.

“BCFS Health and Human Services’ EMD operates in ‘life and death’ scenarios daily – from developing evacuation plans for hospitals and schools, to coordinating multi-agency response efforts in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane,” said Kari Tatro, Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President – Administration, Education and Emergency Management. “Our government and corporate partners rely on BCFS to ensure top-notch quality and program effectiveness. Lauren’s experience directing quality assurance measures and project evaluation will further enhance our ability to be ready for anything.”

Maher has more than 10 years of emergency management experience, having most recently served as chief of staff for the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Management. Maher provided chief counsel to the Texas Chief of Emergency Management on matters stretching from community relations issues to critical emergency response strategies. She directed risk management and life safety programs for the Texas Department of Public Safety, and developed systematic policies and procedures for program evaluation and quality control.

As the department’s special projects manager and emergency management liaison, she directed the special projects team, provided technical assistance in producing key deliverables and strategies, and served as the department’s “go-to” for troubleshooting complex issues in the special project program.

Maher holds a master’s degree in technical communication and an undergraduate degree from Texas State University.

For more information about BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division, visit BCFSEMD.org.

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BCFS Health and Human Services’ Emergency Management Division is part of the BCFS system of non-profit organizations. It is a partner of federal, state and local government and private industry, specializing in emergency management, incident management, disaster response, public health & medical emergency response, mass care, mass fatality planning, medical sheltering and p

BCFS Taps Sicard as VP – Logistics and Resource Management

Photo: Gary Sicard

BCFS has named Gary Sicard as Vice President of Logistics and Resource Management, responsible for agency resources and procurement. Additionally, Sicard will serve as the organization’s Emergency Management Division’s Logistics Chief, responsible for disaster preparedness, capacity building, vendor management, packaging, pricing and deployment of resources nationwide and internationally. Sicard will work to further strengthen BCFS’ impeccable reputation for stewardship by improving and implementing agency procedures to ensure efficient and effective methodologies for  purchasing, inventory management storing and shipping goods to all BCFS locations from coast-to-coast and throughout the world.

“BCFS operates in high stakes environments, so it’s essential we always have the right tools and procedures ready for response at a moment’s notice,” said Kari Tatro, Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President – Administration, Education and Emergency Management. “Gary’s ability to manage highly expansive and complex procurement and resource efforts are essential  for overseeing the many, quick-moving parts of our international organization.”

Sicard joins BCFS EMD after a 26-year career in the U.S. Navy, where he rose through the ranks to represent the Department of Defense to high-ranking officials in Europe and the Middle East as a Lieutenant Commander. He directed the procurement of more than $2.5 billion in material, equipment and services for the construction and overhaul of nuclear aircraft carriers and submarines, ensuring the nation’s capital vessels were ready for sea. In both the public and private sectors, he led large and multifaceted teams, managing purchasing, expediting, logistics, inspection and material for multibillion dollar engineering procurement and construction projects in complex regulatory environments.

Sicard holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Ashford University and is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, Institute for Supply Management, Institute for Real Estate Management, and is a Certified Defense Privatization Manager. He is a Lean Six Sigma Champion and a former instructor for process improvement, adhering to the Deming methods.

Corpus Christi Awarded Grant from Coastal Bend Community Foundation

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Coastal Bend Community Foundation has awarded a $5,000 grant to the BCFS Health and Human Services center in Corpus Christi, which serves families, youth in and aging out of foster care as well as those at risk of homelessness, poverty and other challenges. The grant provides funding for services to families and youth who have aged out of the foster care system.

The BCFS Health and Human Services center in Corpus Christi provides youth case management, educational opportunities, employment connections, housing location and legal service. Many of the youth have been removed from their biological parents due to abuse or neglect, or have been involved in the juvenile justice system. Some youth have made the center their “home away from home” as a safe place to study after school, where staff help to keep them on the right path to achieve their goals.

BCFS equips young adults with “real life” knowledge and skills, such as how to interview for a job, balancing a checkbook, making healthy decisions, choosing a career path, teen pregnancy prevention and the consequences of being sexually active. Victoria Perez, BCFS Director of Community Based Services in Nueces County, focuses on offering a support system to youth in foster care that helps them grow into healthy, productive adults.

“These young people in our community have endured serious tragedies and challenges through no fault of their own,” she says. “Our mission is to help youth learn responsibility, find opportunities and, ultimately, help them build a bright a future.

“Our work with families concentrates on helping both parents and children create a healthy, loving, family-first environment. In our parent education classes, parents learn effective ways to understand, educate and guide their children, and the children learn ways that they can show their parents respect and love. ”

For families, BCFS offers the Texas Families Together and Safe program. TFTS teaches families how to resolve conflict and improve communication within the family unit, address and alleviate behavioral issues and strengthen parents’ self worth.

The Coastal Bend Community Foundation was incorporated in 1981 with the mission of enhancing and improving the quality of life in seven counties of the Coastal Bend. The Foundation serves donors by providing a vehicle for the establishment of various types of charitable funds designed to fulfill their wishes. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $85 million from donor contributions and revenues to scholarships to students and grants to nonprofit organizations.

For more information about BCFS in Corpus Christi, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/CorpusChristi.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

 

 

 

Celeste Garcia Named Executive Director – Community Services Division

Photo: Celeste Garcia

BCFS Health and Human Services has named Celeste Garcia as Executive Director of its Community Services Division. In this role, Garcia will oversee BCFS’ community-based operations, which offer services in every Texas county ranging from case management and counseling, to life skills trainings, parenting classes, college and vocational tuition vouchers for youth in foster care, shelter for young adults struggling with homelessness, and more. Garcia will assume this role on November 1.

Garcia currently serves as Associate Executive Director of BCFS’ Residential Services Division where she oversees foster care, adoption, post release and home study programs, with annual budgets totaling $16.5 million. Garcia also serves as a key liaison between BCFS and its government partners at the federal, state and local level, ensuring compliance, quality assurance, and positive program outcomes for the children, youth and families served.

Under Garcia’s leadership, BCFS’ regional offices across the country continually receive high rankings from federal partners and third party advocacy groups that laud the organization for consistently delivering critical services for children and families in need with exceptional speed, scalability, and quality.

“Celeste is a dynamic leader who invigorates her team and delivers top notch programming,” said Asennet Segura, BCFS Chief Operating Officer. “I know she will not only strengthen our current programs, but also be key in leveraging BCFS locations in other states across the nation to expand our agency’s reach to more children and families in need.”

When she served as National Program Director of BCFS’ Post Release and Home Study Services, Garcia spearheaded the opening of regional offices strategically located around the nation to serve children and families reunited after a separation that sometimes spanned years. Garcia has worked closely with the U.S. departments of Justice, Homeland Security and key international diplomats to ensure BCFS’ operations filled gaps for unmet needs, and exceeded contract requirements.

“Throughout her tenure at BCFS, Celeste has maintained a laser focus on a singular, critical mission: ensuring the best quality placements and environments for children and youth in our care,” said Kevin Dinnin, BCFS President.

Garcia has 14 years of experience advocating for children and families. She earned her Masters of Science in Social Administration at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Community Services Division operates centers across Texas that serve youth from the foster care system, teens struggling with homelessness, poverty or a history of abuse, youth in the juvenile justice system, and families. At BCFS centers, youth receive case management, counseling, and assistance with education, employment and housing. Parent support groups and parenting education programs educate families on how to improve communication, resolve conflict, and create a stable, safe home environment for their families.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

BCFS Health and Human Services to Hold Candlelight Vigil

DEL RIO — According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million people are affected by intimate partner violence in the United States each year. One in three women in Texas is affected by abuse at the hands of a boyfriend, spouse or intimate partner. Last year in Texas, more than 23,000 adults and children sought shelter from an abusive environment.

As the nation marks October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, BCFS Health and Human Services in Del Rio will pause to honor victims of abuse, and underscore its programs that help survivors recover and work to end domestic abuse for good.

BCFS Health and Human Services’ Del Rio Domestic Violence (DRDV) program provides safety, support and resources to victims of domestic violence in Del Rio and Val Verde County. Victims receive one-on-one support, legal assistance, referrals to access community resources, emergency medical care, and critical safety planning. BCFS’ domestic abuse hotline is available 24/7 at (830) 768-2755.

In the last year, BCFS’ Del Rio Domestic Violence program has provided treatment and recovery services to 93 adults and 70 children affected by domestic violence.

On Thursday, October 29, BCFS Health and Human Services will hold its sixth annual candlelight vigil in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The vigil, Igniting Hope: A Community Commitment to Stop Domestic Violence, will be held at Del Rio’s Brown Plaza at 305 Cantu Street at 7 p.m. Community leaders, advocates and local families will gather with BCFS Health and Human Services to read aloud the names of every domestic violence victim who lost their life at the hands of their abusers this past year. BCFS’ community partners collaborating on the event include the Val Verde County Sheriff’s Office, New Horizon Women’s and Children’s Shelter, Quad Counties Council, the Laughlin Air Force Base Family Advocacy Center, Border Federal Credit Union and Casa De La Cultura.

“It’s a common misconception that physical violence is the only symptom of an abusive environment,” says Delia Ramos, interim director for the BCFS center in Del Rio. “But there are many ways individuals can be victimized, like suffering emotional manipulation and intimidation. No one has a right to abuse someone else. It’s important to recognize these heinous acts for what they are – abuse – and encourage victims to seek help.”

DRDV also promotes violence-free relationships and community awareness through public information, education and advocacy. DRDV’s community outreach involves classroom instruction on healthy relationships, collaboration with law enforcement, and self-defense workshops for teens and young women.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in a relationship used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Such abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological. It can include action or threats of action to influence another person, such as sexual assault, stalking or any behavior that frightens, intimidates, terrorizes, manipulates, humiliates, blames or injures someone else. Examples include withholding money from a partner, threatening to hurt pets or children, threatening to kill oneself in the event of a breakup or divorce, or constantly belittling or criticizing an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is not limited by gender, class, race, religion, economic status, age or sexual orientation. Whether a couple is married, living together, divorced or dating, any pattern of behavior used to maintain power and control over a partner is considered domestic abuse.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-779-SAFE (7233) or call BCFS Health and Human Services at 830-768-2755. All help is free and confidential.

For more information about BCFS’ Del Rio Domestic Violence program, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/DelRio.

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BCFS is a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations with locations and programs throughout the United States as well as Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. The organization is a national leader in medical sheltering and emergency management and response, providing critical emergency support services to federal, state and local governments. BCFS also provides residential services and emergency shelters for children who are abused or neglected; assisted living services and vocational training for adults with intellectual disabilities; mental health services for children and families, foster care and adoption services; medical services; early education; transitional living services for youth who are at-risk and those in the juvenile justice system; residential camping and retreats for children and families; and international humanitarian aid for children living in impoverished conditions in developing countries.

Busy “Retirement” is a Blessing to the Lee Family & BVT

“When you retire from your regular 40-hour-a-week job, you can’t just sit and do nothing,” says Marjorie Lee, a cheerful, gracious woman who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Marjorie shares this advice as she recalls happy memories of years spent in “retirement” with her late husband Frank Lee.

“Frank was doing that to begin with… and wearing out the carpet between the recliner and fridge. You’ve got to do something,” Marjorie says. When you give to the Lord, you get back more than you give. You get the blessing, too.”

Their desire to stay active long into their golden years inspired Marjorie and Frank to take the path less traveled and join the Texas Baptist Men serving in volunteer projects across the country. Frank and Marjorie joined their first work crew with Texas Baptist Men in January of 1990.

“We were helping churches get new buildings or additions and other construction jobs. Doing that work helped us ‘old people’ too, because if we had to sit in our easy chairs and twiddle our thumbs the rest of our lives it wouldn’t have helped, and it wouldn’t have been as much fun. We got the benefit as much as the churches did. It was a two-way street,” says Marjorie.

For seven years, Frank and Marjorie joined every project they could with the Texas Baptist Men.

“Frank just loved it! We both loved it. I was still working as a nurse at the time, so he would go to job sites close to home so I could join him on the weekend. It was like a family reunion every month, and we all loved the experience and felt so blessed. The group came from all over the state, between 100 and 200 people. They ran three jobs each month and you’d choose which you wanted to do. About 30 people worked each job, and you never knew which people you’d run into,” Marjorie recalls.

In October of 1997, Frank and Marjorie and dozens of other volunteers drove a caravan of RVs into an open field in a small, east Texas town called Tyler. With the help of these selfless volunteers, lots of hard work, and of course divine intervention, this empty field would soon transform into Breckenridge Village of Tyler, a residential community where adults with intellectual disabilities receive loving care and support that helps them develop physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

“When we arrived in our campers and RVs, it was nothing but a huge empty pasture. There wasn’t a tree or bush or building,” says Marjorie. “We were making our own road and set up our RVs all in a row. We had water and electricity. Then shortly after we arrived, they put up a huge circus tent with picnic tables where we ate our meals and worshipped on Sunday and gossiped through the week.”

Frank and his crew were assigned Cottage #1 – the very first structure at the Village. While Frank worked hard on his cottage, Marjorie and the other women served meals and manned the first aid tent.

“Frank was up in the rafters, helping set trusses and climbing on scaffolding, doing the tape and float on the drywall – loving every minute of it. We had a ball doing those things. By the time we left that job, the cottages were put together enough so we could see how it was going to be setup. The whole group was excited about it.”

Over the next several weeks, the crew erected six cottages, which still to this day house adults with developmental disabilities. While Frank worked diligently, neither Frank nor Marjorie knew his health was rapidly deteriorating.

Sadly, just two months later, Frank Lee passed away from cancer with Marjorie and their three daughters by his side, a few days after Christmas.

The very first cottage at Breckenridge Village had been Frank’s final project, after seven years of faithful service and countless lives touched working alongside his loving wife and the Texas Baptist Men.

For the years that followed, Marjorie felt drawn back to Breckenridge Village of Tyler and recognized it was a special place not only for her family, but for adults with disabilities and their families.

“We sensed right from the beginning what a marvelous concept BVT was,” says Marjorie. “And being in nursing myself, I knew there was nothing like this for adults with mental disabilities and I sometimes pondered, what do families do when they are getting too old and the caretakers won’t be around a long time?”

On a blustery spring day in 2015, Marjorie, her three daughters and other family members all gathered at Breckenridge Village for an interment ceremony honoring Mr. Frank Lee. A tree was planted in Frank’s honor and a plaque lovingly placed where Frank’s ashes were interred.

“I always wanted Frank to go to the Village and be interred there. When BVT said they’d be pleased to do that, it just thrilled me to death. I’ve put this off for almost 18 years since he died.”

Today, Marjorie is still busy at work for the Lord. Occasionally, she goes on short-term mission trips to use her nursing skills, but there are plenty of volunteer opportunities close to home in Colorado Springs. She created several libraries in churches across Texas and Colorado, including the church she now attends. She established a library in a facility for people with physical handicaps in central Texas, and she helps manage the library in the local county jail. Some of the groups she serves have affectionately dubbed her “the book lady.”

Lee Family’s Legacy of Service:  Ever since Cottage #1 was erected by Frank and his crew in 1997, many adults with disabilities have called it home. Since then, BVT has expanded into a thriving, 70-acre campus complete with 6 homes, a chapel, a greenhouse, a vocational center, a pool, a health center, fishing pond, an activities pavilion, and a prayer garden.

About Texas Baptist Men: The mission of Texas Baptist Men is to assist Texas Baptist Churches as they lead men into a “Love” relationship with Jesus Christ that will thrust them and their families into a lifestyle of missions and ministry that fulfills the Great Commission. Texas Baptist Men operates in cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention: Baptist General Convention of Texas and associations; Southern Baptists of Texas and associations; and with other Great Commission Christians. Texas Baptist Men is a 501-C3 non-profit organization.

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Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT) is part of BCFS’ global system of health and human service non-profit organizations. BVT is a faith-based community for adults with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities. Located on a tranquil 70-acre campus just west of Tyler, Texas, our community offers exceptional residential and day enrichment programs to meet the needs of the persons entrusted to our care. We are dedicated to serving a group of amazing people—God’s Forever Children—in a warm, safe, family-like setting that seeks to empower each resident as he or she develops spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially in a safe, loving, and closely supervised environment.