In 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, Paul describes to the church at Corinth the “cheerful giver.” He says, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Fred and Barbara Holmes, of Taft, California, are two cheerful givers. It all began with what Mrs. Holmes would normally call “junk mail” – an appeal letter from Alice Lloyd College. She opened the letter and began to read about the history of the college, the students enrolled and our dedication to serving the Appalachian region. Having been born in rural Arkansas and growing up with little in the way of possessions but a home full of love, Mrs. Holmes’ interest was sparked and she began to dig a little deeper into this Miracle on Caney Creek.
Mr. & Mrs. Holmes quickly realized that Alice Lloyd College fell in line with their personal outlook on life. At 13, Mr. Holmes began work in his family’s business as a third-generation oilman. He showed up early and went home late because he did not want anyone to think he received special privileges for being the boss’s son. Just as he felt then that it was necessary for him to do his part, Mr. Holmes believes it is necessary for students to do their part as they receive help from friends along the way. The work-study model employed by Alice Lloyd College requires all students to work as a condition of enrollment in order to earn a character-based education.
In addition to hard work, Mr. and Mrs. Holmes believe that family is important. Having raised two daughters and now enjoying two granddaughters and four grandsons, Fred and Barbara keep their family ties strong. You can find them at volleyball games, piano recitals and many other extra-curricular activities cheering on their grandchildren! Meanwhile, here in the valley of Pippa Passes, faculty, staff and administration are working hard to ensure that students feel as if they are part of the Eagle family. Employees are more than just employees – they are friends, mentors, cheerleaders and oftentimes, the support system that a student may have never had at home.
As strong Christians, Fred and Barbara are a successful, yet humble couple; they give the Creator praise for all that they have accomplished in life. Not only do they feel that the Lord has immensely blessed them, but they feel with those blessings comes the responsibility to be good stewards of all they have received. In their stewardship, they have become friends to Alice Lloyd College, an organization operated on traditional Christian principles. Mr. and Mrs. Holmes are examples to our students, faculty, staff and administration of what a life of service looks like – service to God first and then to our fellow man.
The support provided by Mr. and Mrs. Holmes began in honor of Barbara’s aunt, Eudora N. Fields, “a teacher first and last.” Not only did Mrs. Fields impact Mrs. Holmes’ life, but also the lives of many others, as she dedicated her life to educating students. She began as a teacher in rural Arkansas, later becoming a principal and eventually having a school named in her honor. Her commitment to education left a lasting impression on Mrs. Holmes, leading her to becoming a friend to a small college nestled in the hills of Appalachia.
On behalf of Alice Lloyd College, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Holmes. Your dedication to our God, to the world around you and to this institution is inspiring. Thank you for being a cheerful giver and thank you for helping to keep our miracle alive!