Thursday night I'm in Pennsylvania for our annual LeTourneau University banquet at Willow Valley. Our university has a rich heritage of support from Pennsylvania. A notable example is the John and Florence Thomas family.
John and Florence Thomas shared 61 years together, working side by side to start a mission church, teach Sunday school and develop their family business, one that started with selling vegetables and feeding helpers with a spirit of hospitality in 1943.
In 1966, they opened a motel and added a restaurant that grew into an enterprise known as Willow Valley which expanded to include hotels, restaurants, a golf course, homes and apartments, retirement communities and a premier resort and conference center. They believed in LeTourneau University and were long-time donors, with John serving on the LeTourneau Board of Trustees. Florence died in 2002, John in 2006. Thomas Hall on our LETU campus was named in their honor when it opened in November 2002.
The Thomas story is one of living out one's Christian faith in one's professional life. The food and hospitality industry is a great place to demonstrate God's love for employees, guests and customers.
And while I know "Breakfast with Fred" was last week, I feel I must share some of the great comments I received from some of our guests. Let their words remind us again that God has created a special place here at LETU and from here we can bless so many others.
J.L. Jackson (retired president of Diamond Shamrock) said: "What impressed me most about the university was the open Christian atmosphere and the level of Christian commitment, not only of the faculty and staff, but of the students too."
Dr. JoyLynn Hailey Reed (UT-Dallas Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching) said: "It was such a blessing to be on your campus - everyone made us feel so at home! I have been on so many university campuses but LETU was the most special of all. God is certainly present and at work in a huge way."
Brenda Smith (CEO, BWF Project) said: "I don't believe we have ever been on a campus that was so clearly and distinctly Christo-centric. What a blessing."