by Rick Wheat, President and CEO
July 1, 2011

After four decades of exceptional leadership and ministry, Terrel DeVille retired yesterday, June 30, 2011, as President and CEO of Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services, Inc. As he said after firing the big cannon concluding our Fourth of July Patriotic Celebration, he was “going out with a bang”!

Terrel DeVille introduced me to the clergy and laity during the Annual Conference meetings last month in Shreveport. Some of you were there and heard me say, "I know the stature of the man I follow". Mr. DeVille is the giant among leaders of ministries to children and families.

You cannot look at our organization without knowing we have a wise Board of Directors. Here’s more evidence of their wisdom. While Mr. DeVille may have retired, we’re not losing his influence. Our Board of Directors elected him a Lifetime Member of the Board and has appointed him President Emeritus. In other words, we still have access to Mr. DeVille’s experience, wisdom and knowledge.

Rev. Doug Ezell hired me as a family therapist in our Family Counseling Center on the Ruston campus and I started working at the Home on January 1, 1989. The third person I met at the Home was Mr. DeVille. He impressed me immediately and I’ve had the privilege of following the leader for 22 years.

For more than 40 years, Mr. DeVille shaped and shepherded Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services. He did so with the prayerful support of so many through the years. As Mr. DeVille begins his retirement today and enjoys all the opportunities it will provide, I ask you to continue remembering him and his family in your prayers. And I ask you, please pray for us.

The greatest support you can offer the Home is to remember us in your daily conversations with the Lord.

Pray for our Board of Directors. They are a group of dedicated, engaged volunteers who are passionately committed to giving our ministry direction.

Pray for our staff. They are hands of the church. In fact, our staff across Louisiana represent nearly 400 pairs of hands ministering to the needs of Louisiana’s children and their families.

I ask you to pray each day for the recipients of our ministries – Louisiana’s children and their families.

Pray they will appropriate the incredible grace of God in their lives as it is offered through the staff of Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services.

I end by saying to Terrel DeVille, "Thank you. Thanks for the decades of clear, competent direction, thanks for being a constant example of servant leadership, thank you for your unwavering dedication to our mission, thank you for the energetic commitment of your time, talents and wisdom, and thank you, Mr. DeVille, for being a man people long to follow."

Respectfully yours,

Rick Wheat
President/CEO< Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services

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