UMHB teams up with United Way
Oct06

UMHB teams up with United Way

United Way of Central Texas has teamed up with UMHB to create one of the campus’ most successful organizations, while still meeting their mission. So far, they have been working on building a strong leadership team to help them reach their goals for the year and future years to come. Senior public relations major Christopher Stroup has risen to the occasion and is now the president of the upcoming organization. Although Stroup graduates in May 2016, he is confident he will set a firm foundation to help make the UMHB chapter of the United Way successful before he leaves. “We are trying to empower students and provide ways for them to give back to the community,” he said. They have already started planning service opportunities for future UMHB events like Parent’s Weekend. In the spring, the group is planning a Play 60 event where the NFL gets involved to teach students the importance of health, exercise and eating right, while also having fun. Director of marketing and volunteerism at United Way Central Texas, Mary Beth Kelton, is helping Stroup and the other leadership members get started. “The university prepares students for leadership, service, and faith-informed discernment in a global society. This is the foundation of Student United Way UMHB Chapter,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for students to get involved with a global organization right here in Belton, Texas.” Because the UMHB Chapter is just building momentum, they have relied heavily on the help of United Way Central Texas. Stroup said they have been very helpful and supportive after hand-picking him to be president. The organization is adopting the original mission of the non-profit that strives to “bring the entire community together to find lasting solutions that change people’s lives,” according to the organization’s website. “Student United Way represents the next generation of community leaders. We focus on education, financial stability and health – the building blocks for a good quality life,” Kelton said. Their primary goal for this year is to get the word out about the new organization. They have meetings every other Thursday at 6 p.m. in Brindley Auditorium. The first interest meeting had about 50 people, and they are hoping the number stays consistent or grows in the upcoming meetings. Because of UMHB’s relationship with United Way, it has made it easier on the leadership team to communicate and get things done for them. “I am a proud Crusader undergrad and MBA graduate and I know UMHB is the perfect place for a Student United Way chapter,” Kelton said. “UMHB students have a heart for serving the community. We will have many social...

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Lt. Gen. Milley, Sen. Cornyn comment on Fort Hood shooting investigation
Apr03

Lt. Gen. Milley, Sen. Cornyn comment on Fort Hood shooting investigation

THE BELLS — Antonio Hebert and Seth Stephens Just after 4 p.m. April 2, 2014, a shooter identified as 34-year-old Ivan Lopez opened fire in a medical facility on Fort Hood killing four and injuring 16. All were military personnel. Some were treated at Scott and White Hospital in Temple.     The gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wo und shortly after the incident. The investigation is still ongoing. Police and military personnel will release information as it becomes available.     Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Lt. Gen. Mark Milley held a brief press conference April 3 at 3 p.m. Milley began by asking reporters and media outlets to avoid speculation.     “As for the investigation, the criminal investigation division of the U.S. army continues to lead investigating agencies and they are right now synchronizing all of the investigative work of the federal, state, local and army agencies throughout Fort Hood and the surrounding area. They are interviewing witnesses as an ongoing and active investigation,” he said.     Milley hinted at the possibility of the Lopez’s psychological history playing a role in the tragic incident. He also said that authorities are still looking into all possibilities concerning motive.     “At this point we have not yet ruled out anything whatsoever. And we are letting the investigation run its course. But we have, again, no indication that this… (has) any link to terrorist organizations,” he said.     Cornyn said he considers mental health problems to be “among the most vexing” and said measures are being taken to care for the psychological well-being of soldiers.     Milley discussed future plans to remember the deceased saying, “We’re planning a memorial ceremony early next week in honor of the fallen. I’d also like to thank the outpouring of support from the central Texas community and the entire state of Texas. And all of our national leadership within in the military and civilian leadership at the national level. Everyone is chipping in trying to assist in anyway they...

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Churches Help West Community Rebuild
Oct09

Churches Help West Community Rebuild

The sound of accordions and brass performing waltzes and polkas rang out from the speakers as smiling clerks and customers happily exchanged midday greetings. After one step into the jovial atmosphere of the Czech Stop, home to West, Texas’ famous kolaches, one would not have suspected that six short months earlier, this little town, less than an hour’s drive from UMHB, was rocked by a devastating explosion that claimed 14 lives, nine of whom were first responders. Beneath the area’s relaxed, tranquil surface, dramatic memories of chaos and tragedy can be conjured up at a moment’s notice. “Initially I thought it was an earthquake,” Associate Pastor of St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption, Father Boniface Onjefu, said of the April 18 event. “I had just finished the 6:30 p.m. mass, and I came to the rectory when I heard a loud explosion.” The priest recalled walking out to the street to witness town residents streaming out of their houses to see what had happened. He said, “I saw people running around helter-skelter everywhere, saying the fertilizer plant exploded. While I was standing in front of the church, I watched the dark smoke head up into the sky…. We never had peace for three days.” Because West’s population is one deeply rooted in faith, many of the Czech-Americans being Catholic, the sanctuary became a safe haven of constancy in the midst of a tempest. “If you live in West, you will know that the church is the center of activity….,” Onjefu said. “The church is the centerpiece, so when the explosion happened, they all came here. People were asked not to go back home, so we kept them at the church to take refuge.” He said the parish was able to provide spiritual, emotional and monetary support to community members, who have expressed much gratitude. The town is a tight-knit one, and the clergy are no exception. Catholics and Protestants alike belong to the West Area Ministers Alliance. Because St. Mary’s was the largest unaffected church structure deemed safe at the time, all the congregations met there for a candlelight vigil and prayer service the Friday after the Wednesday explosion. The community of faith has played an active role in the revitalization effort. First Baptist Church of West continues to meet practical needs. Pastor John Crowder, a childhood friend of university President Dr. Randy O’Rear, said he and his family were on their way back home from his daughter’s track meet in College Station when he received a phone call from one of the church elders about the explosion. Naturally, he inquired about his home and dog, but the deacon...

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Roommates: Through Thick and Thin
Sep24

Roommates: Through Thick and Thin

One of the most terrifying parts of first arriving at college is meeting your first roommate. You have probably never met before and yet  have been paired to live together for at least a semester. Images from the horror movie, The Roommate, surely creep into the minds of students as they drive to Belton for move-in day. While their own first roommate stories don’t unfold as violently, some can be horrific in their own way. However, on rare occasions, roommates hit it off, and they become best friends. Senior education major Chad Manns wasn’t sure what to think about his roommate, senior mathematics major Ryan Frusha, when they first moved into McLane Hall their freshman year. “For the first two or three weeks, it was pretty awkward. We talked about school, and that was it,” Manns said. “I think the thing that brought us together was our music. I was listening to Usher, and he was like ‘you like this music?’” Once they discovered their similar taste in tunes, the duo decided to make some music videos.    Frusha said that was when he started to get to know his roommate better. “The first time we met, he was real quiet, and I was more upbeat. And then he came out of his shell a little bit when we did those videos,” he said. Whether or not they would be roommates past their freshman year was never mentioned between Frusha and Manns. It was an unnecessary conversation. “If anything, it was when the housing process came, we expected to stay roommates. The conversation was more of who’s going to be our third roommate,” Frusha said. Usually differences and disagreements are reasons why freshman roommates don’t stay together. Frusha and Manns are exceptions to the rules. “We’ve only had probably two arguments. But they’ve all been about sports,” Manns said, laughing. They both enjoy playing and watching basketball. However, Manns is an avid Dallas Mavericks fan while Frusha chooses to root for the Miami Heat. For many this could be an obstacle to friendship given the hot rivalry that has developed between the two teams over the past several years. “We weren’t at each other’s throats about it,” Frusha said. “When the Mavs won, he was pretty cool about it. Whenever they were beating the Heat, he wouldn’t bring it up. Then the next year when the Heat crushed them, I never said anything about it.” Their friendship doesn’t end once they leave Belton. This past summer, Frusha and Manns went to Hawaii to do mission work. They said the experience helped them grow closer spiritually. Another duo that has withstood...

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McLane College of Business
Sep10

McLane College of Business

Gracing the face of UMHB’s College of Business is the name of Drayton McLane Jr., one of the most successful Texas businessmen in the past few decades. On Aug. 28, university president Dr. Randy O’Rear announced that the College of Business will now be named the McLane College of Business. The decision was made public at Convocation, right before McLane addressed the audience as the keynote speaker. “It’s a great honor…. At first we didn’t think we deserved something like this, but they continued to talk to us, and we felt it was a great honor and we just feel very honored to be associated with the university,” McLane said in a press conference after Convocation. He also talked about his involvement in the community and university. “I’ve always felt a part of UMHB, and we have made contributions in the past. I’ve made talks at the business school over the last few years and felt a part of it even though I didn’t go to school here,” he said. McLane is the former owner of the Houston Astros, member of a successful family business and strong supporter of Christian universities. “I think what we need in America and in Texas more is higher Christian education. Christian universities are kind of declining in population .… I think a certain amount of the population really wants to be involved in Christian higher education.” He is not the only one who feels honored to have his name associated with the university. Interim dean of the College of Business Dr. Paul Stock is happy to have the name McLane recognized with the college. “We’re pretty excited about it. Drayton McLane and the McLane family have had a relationship with UMHB for a long time. And it kind of raises the bar for us because the way the McLane family stands for integrity and honesty and community service with Christian values, and we’re hoping it really inspires our students and faculty going forward,” Stock said. McLane was born in Cameron, Texas, and after attending college, he returned to Cameron where he began working the family’s wholesale grocery business. Being family did not provide him any shortcuts to success. O’Rear retold the story, saying McLane’s father “believed that to be an effective leader, you had to earn the respect of all of the employees. So he offered Drayton a job loading trucks on the night shift.” Over the next 20 years, McLane worked his way through the ranks of the business and eventually became the executive vice president. In 1978 he became the president and chief executive officer. The McLane Company is a food...

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ASTRA: It’s Peanut Butter, Jelly Time
Sep10

ASTRA: It’s Peanut Butter, Jelly Time

On the way out of the building, near two large bottles of hand sanitizer, a small embroidered cloth in a wooden frame reads, “It is in giving that we receive the greatest gift.” This trinket puts into words the actions carried out at the Salvation Army’s Feed My Sheep building located in Temple. It is a place where free meals are given out to the homeless every day by different groups that sign up for specific days of the month. For the university chartered community service organization, ASTRA, Feed My Sheep is a semester-long opportunity in which the organization has committed to serving the first Saturday of the month from September to December. “We do several events throughout the whole year. I did Feed My Sheep last year as well,” junior journalism major Brittany Pumphrey said. “It is really rewarding, to stop thinking about yourself for a little bit and help someone else in need.” Members of ASTRA convened Sept. 6, the night before the Feed My Sheep service project, to prepare 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to distribute. Traci Squarcette, faculty sponsor for ASTRA, and two mothers of members in the ASTRA of Conservatory Club prepared a hot meal of baked spaghetti to be served as well. Feed My Sheep is the only place in Temple where the homeless can get free meals since the closure of Martha’s Kitchen. Benjamin Chason is a homeless man who has his food service license and volunteers to help cook meals. “I live out in the streets with these people every day,” Chason said. “I’ve been coming back and forth volunteering. I also serve at my church; we serve three meals a week.” ASTRA took over the Feed My Sheep service project from its parent organization, ALTRUSA. This is an international service organization that focuses on literacy and community service. “It’s nice they (students) take the time to volunteer. It kind of makes you proud,” ALTRUSA member Helen Roland said as she placed her hand over her heart. Like their parent organization, ASTRA focuses on literacy and participates in various outreaches that support literacy in roundabout ways. “Feeding the hungry ultimately helps them learn better,” Squarcette said. “We have groups that read to kids through ALTRUSA. When we did Canstruction last year, we built a big book and a book worm. (It was made up of) about 2,200 cans that went to Helping Hands.” Last year, ASTRA started with three members. By the end of last semester, the organization had 19 members, and 13 new members signed up at the most recent meeting. ASTRA meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. in...

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