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“Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” Romans 13:7

The Heritage Christian University Founders Medal was inaugurated in 2018 as part of the celebration of HCU’s fiftieth year. Each year, during the Founders Ceremony (held the week of March 9) ten medals are awarded. The purpose of the Founders Medal is to recognize unsung and underappreciated heroes who have extended noble service to the church and/or to our broader community.

The following individuals will receive a Founders Medallion on Friday, March 8.

ALVIN ALSTON
Alvin is a member at Mars Hill Church of Christ and an alumnus of IVC/HCU. For several years, he has been serving smaller churches as a Gospel preacher. He spent many years encouraging strangers by being known as “that waiter who sings” at Cracker Barrel. He has, and continues to be, an excellent caregiver to many including Basil Overton, David Underwood, Jerry Davidson, and countless others. Ronald Kendrick 

ANNA GUNDERMAN, posthumously 
During Anna’s time at North Highlands Church of Christ, she saw that her young children were among the very few of the congregations. Wanting to provide a connection for her own children, she took that need and created a solution by starting her own preschool which continued to grow and flourish for years to come. While her final years on Earth were not ideal due to sickness, she still managed to impact many through her legacy and her faithful family.

LARRY KILPATRICK
Larry is an alumnus (’77) of the university. He has an amazing heritage of ministering 31+ years at the same congregation, Cox Boulevard Church of Christ. Total he has served 41+ years in ministry!

JOHN LAWSON
John has served on the board for several years and as Chairman of the Board. He has been a constant encouragement and support to his wife Kathy, who has served as President of the Heritage Associates for many years. They have given their money and time very freely. During the highs and lows of the university, they have remained faithful and worked to make sure it did not lose its mission. They also help many people in need with physical needs and encouraging words. They serve God faithfully.  

LINDA LUMPKINS       
Linda, Lumpkins, a native of Reelfoot Lake, was the youngest of 9 children and the only one in her family to graduate from high school. She attended Freed-Hardeman University where she met her husband Ron. The two of them graduated and settled down at Florence, AL with their two children, Barry & Laura Beth. They began working at Mars Hill Bible School. Linda received her degrees in Elementary Ed and has taught for 30 years in various school systems. She has been a part of the Woodlawn Church of Christ where her husband continues to serve as an elder. Ministry has been a major focal point of her entire adult life. She has been involved in World Bible School, a Sunday School teacher, involved in Prison Ministry and global missions, all while holding down a full-time job and taking care of her family. While involved in Prison ministry she studies with those that were on death row as well as those serving life sentences, introducing them to the love of Jesus by her actions and pure heart. She was also very involved in prison ministry of “Reeboks for Jesus,” a ministry she created to help those people that were not able to purchase good shoes. Mrs. Linda is a wonderful example of Matthew 25 using her talents and opening her home and heart to those that were less fortunate than herself. She always approached ministry with a heart of humility and service. “Countless people will be in heaven because of the work and ministry of Linda Lumpkins.” (Matt Huepel)

MARSHA OAKLEY     
“Whenever ladies (young and old) at the Petersville congregation are asked who they would go to when they need someone to talk to or need encouragement, the answer is almost always Marsha Oakley. Her name is synonymous with Barnabus or encourager, not only in the congregation but in the Underwood-Petersville community. She has a pep and energy that can make the most cross person smile, and she shows a genuine love for everyone through word and deed, regardless of their past. Marsha has served the church by teaching children of all ages, teen girls, and adult women. She has worked with Meals on Wheels, started an encouragement ministry for our college students, heads up Petersville’s role in Room in the Inn, and is the brain and brawn behind our Visitation Teams program. Marsha is the organizer of organizers, getting people involved and convincing them to lead ladies’ ministries in the congregation when she sees a need. Probably the most notable work in the community that Marsha is known for is that she started a preschool at the Petersville church nearly 30 years ago that is still thriving and growing today. Marsha views this labor of love as an evangelistic effort and reminds us often that we get the opportunity to love and serve others, including unchurched families, every Tuesday and Thursday, hopefully making a difference in their eternity.  Marsha is the wife of Terry Oakley, one of the Petersville elders, and is the mom of three boys, now faithful Christian young men with families of their own- Jon, Eric, and Austen – actively serving in their congregations as well.”
 
CHARLES PAYNE, posthumously 
Despite health challenges, he volunteered above and beyond for the university. He and his wife sold a business in Texas in order to move to Florence and help recruit students. During his years at HCU, Charles served in countless roles, including Director of Admissions & Recruitment, Director of Financial Aid, Tape Ministry Director, and Workshop Director. He especially loved helping at university benefit dinners. Charles was a member of Sherrod Avenue.

DONNA PAYNE
Donna is an unsung hero to many. She is a true servant. She enjoys helping others and meeting needs. She serves quietly by cooking hundreds of meals, sitting with cancer patients during chemo treatments, providing transportation for those in need, visiting the sick at home and in hospitals, and providing respite service when needed. Even when she is not feeling well or tired, she always supports HCU events. She just loves doing for others.

COY ROPER
Dr. Coy Roper is a retired HCU professor and served as the first HCU Director of Graduate Studies.  He is a super teacher and has authored several volumes in the Truth for Today Commentary Series. Dr. Roper is known to all as a gentleman and a scholar. He continues to be an advocate and encourager for the university and support the Overton Memorial Library.

CYNTHIA TILLERY       
Cythnia is a member of Killen Church of Christ. A stalwart friend of HCU, particularly in her ongoing assistance to OML.  The Olie and Cynthia Tiller Bible Collection is named in her honor.  Retired after an outstanding career as a high school teacher, she looks for ways to help HCU and recruits others to do likewise.