BVT Receives Support from Local Company


Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT) was one of several winner’s in a local roofing company’s campaign to give back to their community. AVCO Roofing in Tyler, Texas, saved one percent of their proceeds on all residential projects, setting aside $150,000 that was then split among several local charities based on votes obtained and through social media and the AVCO Roofing website.

For BVT, that support through voting – from BVT employees, BCFS System employees, friends, family, and community members – was strong enough to help them finish in the top five!

The result was a donation of over $17,000 at a giveaway event held at the AVCO offices, where Steven Campbell, Executive Director of BVT, and Linda Taylor, Associate Executive Director of Advancement at BVT, attended and accepted the award on behalf of the residents, staff, and supporters of Breckenridge Village of Tyler.

Learn more about BVT’s daily work providing for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities here.


BVT Celebrates Breckenridge Men’s Breakfast for 10th Year

Written by Beverly Flynn

Dale Cummings, The "C", performs live
Dale Cummings, The “C”, performs live

The rain may have poured but it did not dampen the spirits of the over 330 individuals who attended this year’s 10th Annual Robert L. Breckenridge Men’s Breakfast at the beautiful KE Bushman’s Celebration Center in Bullard, Texas. Some classic car owners braved the rainy conditions and brought their memorable vehicles to the car show despite the inclement weather. Meanwhile, the guests who stayed indoors enjoyed hot coffee while listening to classic songs performed by East Texas’ own, Dale Cummings, otherwise known as The “C”.

KTBB Radio personality, Bill Coates, began the program with stories of his days broadcasting high school and college ball games. He then had the privilege of introducing Elijah McCown, Luke McCown’s eleven-year-old son, to lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Tony Black followed the pledge by singing the National Anthem.

Luke McCown with two of his six children
Luke McCown shown with two of his six children

Throughout the event, attendees lined up to bid on the wide variety of wonderful silent auction items provided by local businesses and individuals. After bids were placed, the guests took their seat at football-themed tables to enjoy a delicious breakfast provided by The Diner and served by the BVT staff and Ladies Auxiliary. The room was filled with men – both young and old – enjoying friendship and fellowship with one another.

Bob Holsomback showcases his rocking chair
Bob Holsomback showcases his rocking chair

As the meal started to wind down, an exciting and animated live auction began. This year’s live auction item was a craftsman-style rocking chair built by Bob Holsomback – longtime friend, donor, and supporter of BVT. The stunning chair was made from walnut wood and featured a calf-skin cushion. It took Bob over 200 hours of work to complete. The starting bid was $1,000 but the price quickly grew as men sparred over the coveted, custom-made rocking chair. To the cheers of everyone in the audience, the exquisite piece sold for a final bid of $6,000!

 

Volunteers helped serve breakfast
Volunteers helped serve breakfast

Once the bidding came to a close, Luke McCown, an East Texas native and former NFL quarterback, shared stories from his football career. In his 13 years of experience across seven NFL teams, Luke’s path did not always go the way he planned. However, he knew from his life verse in Proverbs 16:9 that “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps” (NKJV). Luke passionately encouraged his audience to “stand up and be men” who are firm in their faith, strong in their leadership, present and caring in their homes, and honest in their relationship with God. Luke continued, “Men should be the spiritual wind that blows in the sails of our families.” When Luke concluded his message, the audience gave a standing ovation in appreciation for his message of encouragement and wisdom. 

Special thanks goes to the Kiepersol family for their faithful support of Breckenridge Village and their generosity in offering the beautiful KE Bushman venue for this event. BVT is also very appreciative of Luke and his family, Bill Coates, The “C” Dale Cummings, the many businesses and individual table sponsors, the auction donors, the BVT Staff, the Ladies Auxiliary and the employees of The Diner. The day was a spectacular one all in benefit of the special individuals at Breckenridge Village.

To learn more about BVT, click here.

 

Brad Ezell Promoted to Director of Facilities

Brad Ezell joined Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT) in the Spring of 2014 as the Maintenance Supervisor, servicing the maintenance and grounds of the entire campus. Under Brad’s leadership, the 12 buildings, 75 acres, three irrigation ponds, and pool that make up the campus not only look phenomenal, but are also up to par with all safety and regulatory codes.
Photo: Blue Prints
When Brad began his tenure at BVT, he brought with him expertise and experience that made him the right fit for the job. What wasn’t obvious at the time was Brad’s depth of experience in building homes, and why that experience might matter.

In 2016, when BVT began a mission to expand their campus with three new homes (to be completed soon), Brad extended himself as the Project Manager for the construction project. It was a moment of divine intervention for BVT, one of many in the organization’s history of Christ-inspired service.

Brad came to us with home-building experience before we even knew that we would be building more homes,” notes Steven Campbell, Executive Director at BVT. “He has been instrumental in ensuring these homes are built not only with quality craftmanship, but also in accordance with plans and building safety codes.

The BVT construction crew and volunteer workers who have helped in the campus expansion plans will be responsible for building three 7,000 square foot homes in a year, despite numerous weather setbacks during construction. Brad has been a substantial part of that expansion.

Photo: Brad EzelleEven before campus expansion was such a significant part of Brad’s contribution to the BVT culture, Brad prioritized parts of BVT’s mission of service and care in ways that were unique to his perspective. Throughout his years at BVT, Brad has maintained quality relationships with the local Fire Marshall and Life Safety Inspectors, offering an approach that understands the value of community resources.

Brad has been paramount in leading or encouraging many projects over the years. His contributions to the campus have varied greatly in scope and consequence, but they have always managed to make an impact that benefits the health and quality of BVT’s facilities. Brad’s alterations to the Tyler campus may go unnoticed to those who don’t see BVT very often, but for the staff, residents, and their families who interact with the campus on a regular basis, it is clear to see the many accomplishments that Brad has introduced to the community at Breckenridge. In light of what he has offered to the campus over the years, through service and experience, the BVT leadership has awarded Brad with a new position in the BVT family.

“As of September 1, we are promoting Brad to Director of Facilities,” says Steven. “We feel like a promotion is well-deserved for not only his proven track record and service at Breckenridge, but also because of catapulting BVT to a new level through his work during expansion – he has proven to be a leader and fully capable of that role.”

In many ways, Steven admits, Brad’s title is finally catching up to the numerous aspects at BVT that he’s overseen. In other ways, Brad’s new position as Director of Facilities is a sign of what is to come for the life and legacy of BVT. “With increased growth comes increased responsibility,” Steven says.

When asked about what he looks forward to in his new role, Brad notes his expectations for the current expansion project as well as his hopes for the future construction of a new day habilitation facility. In each new project, a simple guideline illustrates the quality of what Brad strives to create. “I look for ways to make the campus safer while still keeping the feel of a forever home.”

For more information about BVT, please visit www.BreckenridgeVillage.com.

BVT, Chick-Fil-A Celebrate Cow Appreciation Day

TYLER, TX —Wednesday, July 18, was a moooootastic day at Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT) when Chick-Fil-A franchise owners Jeff and Debra Johnston delivered Cow Appreciation Day to the residents and day-program participants!

For the day, BVT was festively adorned in Chick-Fil-A’s familiar black-white-and-red palette, complete with cow balloons, a large, free-standing cardboard cow, and billboards reading Chick-Fil-A’s “Eat Mor Chikin” slogan and “BVT loves Chick-Fil-A,” setting the backdrop for fun photos with BVT residents and staff. Lunch was provided and BVT residents and staff interacted with the Chick-Fil-A cow mascot.
Photo:Cow Appreciation Day
For the past four years, as part of their ardent support for BVT, the Johnstons have made it a point to visit the campus to celebrate this unique “holiday” with the residents.

The relationship between Chick-Fil-A and BVT began years ago with Ed and Sandy King,” says Associate Executive Director of Advancement at BVT Linda Taylor. “The Kings were the original owners of Chick-Fil-A in Tyler and had championed the BVT cause for more than 15 years, and have financially supported and promoted BVT within the East Texas community.

Taylor says that after Ed King passed away, Jeff and Debra purchased the South Broadway Chick-Fil-A.

“The Johnstons chose to pick up the BVT torch that the Kings started,” says Linda, “and carried on the BVT/Chick-Fil-A relationship.

“Sandy (King) is still faithfully involved at BVT,” she adds, “never missing a Cow Appreciation Day at the Village.” 

Chick-Fil-A has helped sponsor BVT’s annual events A Night to Remember and the Men’s Breakfast.

Photo:BVT Celebrates Cow Appreciation DayBreckenridge Village of Tyler is a caring residential community for adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. BVT programs and activities are designed to help residents develop the skills they need to achieve their God-given potential.

For more pictures of Cow Appreciation Day at BVT, visit BVT’s Facebook page. For information about BVT’s work in Tyler, visit BreckenridgeVillage.com.

Breckenridge Village of Tyler Announces New Executive Director

Steven Campbell Named Executive Director
at Breckenridge Village of Tyler

Photo: Steven Campbell

BCFS Health and Human Services, parent company of Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT), is proud to announce the promotion of Steven Campbell to the position of Executive Director at BVT.

As Executive Director, Steven will direct BVT’s day-to-day operations, develop and oversee the annual budget, monitor BVT residence’s certifications as a Medicaid Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs/IID) and be responsible for building strong, positive relationships with our beloved residents, their families, and the entire Tyler community. He will be directly involved in the strategic growth and development of the BVT campus, marked this week as BVT celebrates a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of three new homes. Steven will also examine the BVT curriculum to identify opportunities for new program implementation, enhance, develop and expand existing programs, and supervise two of BVT’s program directors and the associate executive director of advancement.

Steven has been part of the BVT family since 2012, first as the Associate Director of Development and most recently as Program Director of Day Habilitation, a position he has held since 2015. His knowledge of and experience with BVT programs and projects, his understanding of immediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual and mental disabilities in a residential care setting, and his background in federal and state licensing make him the ideal candidate for this key position.

“As BVT’s Executive Director, Steven will excel because he cares deeply for our residents and is committed to the principles of leadership, stewardship, and discipleship,” said Asennet Segura, BCFS Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer¬ – Community, International & Residential Operations. “We look forward to his vision and how he will use his experience and expertise to further the BVT mission.”

Steven earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Tyler. He begins his executive directorship at BVT on September 1, 2017. 

 
Congratulations, Steven! We pray for God’s blessings upon you and the entire BVT family.

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 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.

From East Texas to Eastern Europe With Love

By Aubrey Parke
Featured in the 2016 annual BCFS together magazine

Photo: BCFS Staff Member with a young girl

In November of 2008, Diane Stone stepped into a sparse but tidy supply closet in the recreation room of an East Texas group home and stumbled across a couple of plastic looms. Nearly eight years and 2,400 hats later, she and nine other women have knitted their way across the Atlantic Ocean, connecting two organizations in the BCFS system in a meaningful way, and most importantly providing warmth and compassion to orphans in Eastern Europe.

Diane has served as a day program leader at Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT), a residential community for adults with disabilities, for almost a decade. When she first found the Knifty Knitter looms, Diane thought, “Maybe the residents could learn how to make hats with these!”

In the first year of knitting, Diane’s group created 200 hats. The number has grown every year since, reaching 370 hats in 2015.

All of the hats are sent overseas and distributed to orphanages in Moldova in Eastern Europe every December by Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), the international branch of BCFS.

Remarkably, BVT has not had to purchase yarn for any of the 2,400 hats they’ve created since the knitting group began. According to Diane, volunteers collect trunk loads of yarn donations from their churches.

Arts and crafts have always been a part of BVT’s day habilitation program, but it was important to Diane that the residents “use their time and talents to serve others, and feel the joy that brings.”

By making hats, BVT meets a very real need. Not only are Moldova’s winter temperatures gravely cold, but utilities and energy resources are scarce. It is difficult to keep buildings warm when the sun goes down, so the children can wear BVT’s knitted hats all hours of the night and day.

When the first batch of hats arrived in Moldova, the CERI team sent a report back to Tyler, Texas, thanking BVT villagers profusely. Eight years later, tears still well up in Diane’s eyes as she remembers what they told her.

“The kids don’t ever get a choice in what they wear,” she said. “They just wear whatever they are given.” But, in this case it was different! CERI workers laid out the hats, with their brilliant array of colors, almost as many shades and patterns as there were hats, and let them pick!

“The kids didn’t know what to do. Orphanage workers had to take them by the hand and show them how to make a choice.”

Diane’s knitting group has expanded to become an official class at BVT. But the core group of nine knitters continues to meet every morning, sharing life and ministry with each other.

“We are just one big family here at BVT,” Diane says. “I have never been anywhere with an atmosphere like this.”

Community service has always been a part of the lifestyle of BVT residents and day program participants. Staff and residents are involved with Meals on Wheels, the East Texas Food Bank, Jesus Closet Clothing Ministry, and other local nonprofits.

Expanding their local volunteer efforts to have a global impact was a logical – and inspiring – next step.

Taylor Named Associate Executive Director of Advancement

Photo: Linda Taylor

Linda Taylor has been named Associate Executive Director of Advancement at Breckenridge Village of Tyler (BVT), a faith-based, assisted living community for adults with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Linda has dedicated 16 years of selfless service and advocacy to the residents at BVT,” said Kevin King, Executive Director of Breckenridge Village. “This new position truly leverages her many talents, combining her compassion and heart for our residents, with her undeniable business acumen to ensure BVT is doing the most good for the families who rely on us.”

Taylor joined BVT nearly two decades ago as a house parent and, four years later, saw a need to raise funds to help families place their loved ones at the Village – sometimes for the rest of the resident’s life. So Taylor pitched the idea to her then-boss to let her try her hand at being BVT’s first Community Relations Coordinator.

For the last 11 years, Taylor served BVT as Director of Development, establishing annual events widely supported by the community that include the “Robert L. Breckenridge Men’s Breakfast,” “Ladies Spring Luncheon,” “A Night to Remember” sock hop and “Christmas in the Village.” Through special events as well as relationship building, Taylor raised nearly $10 million for campus improvements and important scholarship funds that ensured finances never inhibited a family’s ability to obtain the highest quality of life and care for their loved one through BVT.

Now, as Associate Executive Director of Advancement, she will continue to be a liaison between BVT and the community, initiating and growing relationships with current and prospective donors, and sharing the BVT story far and wide. This will include capital expansion projects to build capacity for an ever-expanding need to serve adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“I just feel so blessed to be able to be a part of this beautiful ministry,” said Taylor. “We have a tremendously philanthropic community that has opened their arms to our special residents who, in turn, feel so much love and gratitude toward those who help them call BVT their home.”

Taylor is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and served on the AFP board as Vice President of Advancement. She is a member of Leadership Tyler – Class 25, an organization that values and promotes leadership and engagement among Tyler’s community members. She holds a business degree from the Federal Business Institute.

Located on a 70-acre campus just west of Tyler, BVT offers residential and day enrichment programs to meet the needs of adults with disabilities. The organization – which celebrated its 17th anniversary this year – seeks to empower each resident as he or she develops spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally and socially in a safe, loving and closely supervised environment.

For more information about BVT, please visit BreckenridgeVillage.com.


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.

BVT Men’s Benefit Raises $50,000 for Scholarship Program

Fun, Fellowship and Classic Cars Too – Annual men’s benefit raises $50,000 for scholarship program that allows many residents to call the Village their home

Photo: John Bermudez and family

John Bermudez shared his family’s personal testimony about watching their loved one, his daughter Chloe, live a filling and purposeful life with Down Syndrome.

More than 180 sons and brothers, fathers and grandfathers recently came together for the 5th Annual Robert L. Breckenridge Men’s Breakfast at BCFS’ assisted living community in Tyler, Breckenridge Village. The event was full of fun and fellowship, to date raising more than $50,000 in scholarship assistance for the residents of BVT.

The dewy morning was the perfect setting for an antique and classic car show as local do-wop band, “The C,” filled the air with oldies from the 50’s & 60’s. Casey Rivers, from the hit TV show Nashville Star, opened the formal program singing “God Bless America” as BVT resident, Ryan, presented the American flag.

John Bermudez, Management Consultant with Chick-fil-A based in Atlanta, Georgia, served as the keynote speaker. Bermudez challenged the men in attendance to bridge the gap for individuals with intellectual disabilities in their community. His testimony came straight from the heart of a parent whose child struggles with a disability.

John’s daughter, Chloe, has Down Syndrome. Together with her sister, Phoebe, the two girls played a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” on their violins. Phoebe shared the daily challenges and obstacles she sees Chloe face, reiterating her father’s message of using the strengths and gifts that each person has to bridge the gap for those with developmental disabilities.

Robert and Jean Breckenridge dreamt of creating a loving, faith-based home where adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities could live when their families could no longer care for them. Their dream became a reality 15 years ago thanks to global health and human service system, BCFS.

BVT’s scholarship program plays a vital role in providing residential care for “God’s Forever Children.” Thanks to the generosity of many, the Village is able to empower each resident and day program participant as he or she develops spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially in a safe, loving, and closely supervised environment.

Showcasing part of the music enrichment activities residents enjoy, the Men’s Breakfast concluded with a beautiful performance of “You Raise Me Up” by BVT resident, Brien W. He was joined by Brynne, also a BVT resident, who gracefully signed the song.

For more information about this special ministry for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, please visit www.BreckenridgeVillage.com.


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.

BVT Partners with Boys & Girls Club of East Texas

Each week, the residents of BVT attend a variety of activities at the Boys & Girls Club of East Texas. The residents are offered an assortment of recreational and educational activities that promote social skills, life skills, and even vocational skills. Most recently, the Boys & Girls Club of East Texas partnered with Aquaponics and Earth, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping make orphanages and children’s homes self-sustaining in underdeveloped or poverty stricken communities and countries.

The Tyler Rotary Club also partnered with the organizations to provide monetary support to build a small version of the Aquaponics system at the Boys & Girls Main Club facility in Tyler. The system is used as a pilot project and has caught the eye of several local and regional groups interested in building a system of their own.

The system is designed with various tanks full of tilapia; the waste from the tilapia serves as a rich fertilizer for plants, vegetables, crops, etc. The system carries water from the fish tanks, up to the garden for irrigation, and eventually drains back into the water tank. Rather than soil, the plants are grown in small pebbles making the system virtually maintenance-free. If desired, the plants can be pulled out of the system and planted elsewhere to provide additional growth and space for even more vegetation. The system produces plants at an accelerated rate, due to the rich fertilizer produced by the fish.

Mitch Erwin, Executive Director of Camp in the City at the Boys & Girls Club of East Texas, was thrilled to have the Aquaponics System at their facility. Several people from around the area have come to visit this ‘one of a kind’ system. Erwin said that he hopes one day to expand the system to a whole new level and possibly even develop a “mini-market” in which BVT residents could become involved in. Mr. Erwin stated that it was his intention for the BVT residents to take an active role in the system and to assist in the development and management of the growing and selling of crops.

For additional information regarding the Aquaponics System, you may contact Mitch at the Boys & Girls Club of East Texas.