NEO tournament honors late board member
MIAMI, Okla. — Campus ministry leaders already have scheduled a fundraiser for the next academic year after the success of an inaugural golf tournament for the Wesley Foundation at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College.
The Wesley Foundation’s fall tournament raised $7,000.
This event will be planned yearly in memory of Ron Gilbert, an outstanding United Methodist layman and dentist in Miami, according to Donni Long, Wesley Foundation director. Dr. Gilbert, who died last year, was the last surviving member of that foundation’s original Board of Directors.
The ministry at NEO began 55 years ago.
More than once Gilbert talked of his devotion to United Methodist campus ministry. He and his wife, Ann, met in 1965 at the Methodist Student Union for the University of Tennessee in Memphis, where Ron was in dental school and Ann in nursing school.
The current board hopes this will be a fitting tribute to his legacy, said Long. The next tournament will be Oct. 15 at Peoria Ridge Golf Course.
“We are so very appreciative of the support shown to us for the continuation of the ministry to the NEO campus,” Long said. “Our first golf tournament brought in 36 golfers from Miami, Grove, Webb City, and as far away as Tahlequah.”
The tournament was an initial venture into large-scale fundraising, she said.
The money will “support the Wesley mission of providing generous hospitality to all NEO students who enter our building, which is focused on bearing witness of God’s amazing grace through the unconditional love of Jesus Christ.”
Known as the Wesley Student Ministry, the center offers free lunches twice weekly and programs of worship and fellowship.
Long recalled what a student told her last year. “I wasn’t sure I even believed in God but, after hanging out at Paint and Praise a couple of times, I was convinced that there really is something different about this place. I started attending the lunches and worship. By the end of the school year I began building back my relationship with Jesus. Without the Wesley, I don’t know where I would be today.”
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