Ruston, LA – April 8, 2011 – Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services (LUMCFS), affectionately known as the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home, announces that Mr. Rick Wheat will become the new President and Chief Executive Officer effective July 1, 2011. Wheat will assume his new duties following the June 30 retirement of Mr. Terrel J. DeVille who has been with the Home since February 1968 and in his current position since 1973.

LUMCFS operates three campuses across the state of Louisiana: the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston; the Methodist Home for Children of Greater New Orleans located in Mandeville; and the Methodist Children’s Home of Southwest Louisiana in Sulphur. LUMCFS also operates Family Plus and Multi-systemic Therapy offices in many cities throughout the state.

Chairman of the Board of Directors for LUMCFS, Mr. Richard Lewis, who also chaired the search committee to hire the new President/CEO said, “The search committee and board were extremely impressed with the quality of the applicants for the position of President/CEO. After a thorough and deliberate search and interview process, the Board identified Rick Wheat as the person most qualified to serve as the next President/CEO. Though we will miss Terrel greatly, we believe that the Home will continue to thrive and fulfill its mission under Rick’s leadership.”

Retiring President/CEO Terrel J. DeVille is extremely complimentary of Wheat’s selection. “I’ve had the privilege of working with Rick for more than 20 years and I know that he has a great passion for the Home. I think the Home is lucky to have someone of his experience, intelligence, vision and integrity, and I wish him good luck and God’s blessings.”

Wheat has been employed with LUMCFS for 22 years, serving as director of several departments through the years. He was first hired as a family therapist in the Family Counseling Center on the Ruston campus. His current position is Director of Information Services. Currently, Wheat is heavily involved in developing operational plans for the Home to accommodate the expected changes coming from Louisiana’s Coordinated System of Care.

Regarding his new role at the Home, Wheat stated “I cannot imagine a more exciting time to be involved in ministry to children and families. For more than 20 years I’ve been blessed to follow Mr. DeVille’s leadership. He is the giant among those who lead faith-based agencies and for more than four decades he has served this ministry with all of himself. I am grateful Mr. DeVille will continue as a Life Member of our Board and as President Emeritus.”

Wheat continued, “This week I have heard two very clear messages, ‘Rick, you have huge shoes to fill,’ has been more than balanced by rich statements of confidence and support. What I know is this: we have a very healthy, engaged Board of Directors and our hundreds of staff across Louisiana will continue providing compassionate care to the neediest, acting as the hands of the church in active ministry to families and children. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. It will not change.”

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