2013 Alumnus of the Year Awards
During the Commencement service on May 10, the Faith Alumni Association recognized two individuals with the 2013 Alumnus of the Year awards in the category of Christian Worker.
Pat Duer has spent her whole life serving as a Christian worker—in fact, at the same Christian ministry. She was born in southeastern Iowa and attended school in Albia and church in Russell. She is the youngest of five children. Her father was a farmer and a coal miner, so Pat is truly a coal miner’s daughter.
High school years were pivotal years for Pat. She accepted the Lord as her Savior during a senior high week at the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp. Also during high school her father passed away which greatly changed her family’s situation. Her four older brothers and sisters had already left home, leaving Pat and her mother the only ones at home.
High school was also the time when she began her love for basketball. She played on her high school team in the late 1960s, and those of you from Iowa will remember that in those days the girls played 6-player basketball.
When Pat graduated from high school in 1970, she had to decide what college to attend. She looked at a community college near her home, but she wanted to attend a Christian college. So in the fall of 1970 she enrolled at Faith Baptist Bible College, pursuing a degree in Christian education—and she has been at Faith ever since that time.
During her college years she worked for a time in the library. Pat had long hair in those days. One day she was using the paper cutter to work on a book in the library. As she bent over the paper cutter to get the cut straight, her hair fell into the blade just as it was coming down, cutting off sizeable chunk of her hair. That’s one of the vocational hazards for a librarian!
Pat Duer graduated in 1974 as part of the first class to graduate from the newly built Convocation Center, now the Nettleton Center where we are meeting today. She graduated on Friday, May 10, exactly 39 years ago today, and she began working full-time in the Business Office here at Faith on Monday, May 13. So this coming Monday she will begin her 40th year of working at Faith. While we do not have employment records from the early days of our school in Omaha, we believe that our honoree is the longest serving staff member in the history of our school. When you add her years as a student, she has been here for 43 years, which is almost half the time our school has been in existence!
Along the way Pat pursued additional training in accounting at Des Moines Area Community College to better equip her for her work in the Business Office. She graduated from DMACC in 1994.
She continued her love of basketball by becoming the coach of the first Faith women’s basketball team in 1979. She continues her involvement in Faith basketball by keeping score at the Eagles home games.
We can’t leave basketball without mentioning one other matter. In the past few years she has become involved in Granny Basketball. Players cannot run or jump, but they have fun. She is the player-coach for the Ankeny Honey Bees team.
Every institution needs someone who has a good grasp of the history of the institution. Those people possess what is called the institutional memory or the tribal memory. Since Pat has been here for 43 years, she is that person. Whenever we have a question about something in the past, we go to her. Since she has also worked in the Business Office for all these years, she not only as a memory of the school but she also has an encyclopedic memory of our business matters. When Pat was out for several weeks last fall to have both knees replaced, you can be sure she got many calls at home.
Life has a way of coming full circle. When Pat's father passed away, she and her mother were the only ones left at home, creating a special bond between mother and daughter. A few years ago Pat took her elderly mother into her home and now provides the primary care for her. Mother and daughter are together again.
Our 2013 honoree has given her entire adult life to studying and serving at Faith. The Faith Alumni Association is happy to award this year’s female Alumnus of the Year award to Miss Pat Duer.
Darrell Goemaat grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He first became acquainted with Faith during his senior year in high school when a music group from Faith came to his church. After the service, one of the stundets in that group approached him and asked about his future plans. The Lord used that contact with the Faith students and his visit to the Faith youth conference that year to think about attending Faith after graduation. He enrolled in the fall of 1979.
Two noteworthy events took place in his years at Faith that have shaped the rest of his life. First, he was invited to a Sadie Hawkins event by a student named Lynne. And as has happened in similar situations, they started dating and were married in 1983. It’s amazing how the Lord works through Sadie Hawkins!
The other important event relates to Darrell's budding interest in photography. He started taking pictures around Faith and eventually the Faith yearbook staff and the Advancement Department saw some of his work and asked him to take pictures for them. He soon realized that what he loved to do most was take pictures of people and sports.
In the spring of his senior year Darrell and Lynne were engaged to be married, but he had no prospects for a job after graduation. One day his English professor, Mrs. Liz Gifford, invited him into her office and asked him what his plans were after graduation. He told her he didn’t have any.
Mrs. Gifford asked, “What would you like to do?”
He said, “I’d like to be a photojournalist.”
Mrs. Gifford replied, “Have you ever thought of applying for a job at the weekly newspaper in Slater, the town where I live?”
He said, “No. I don’t have any experience. Why would they hire me?”
Mrs. Gifford said, “Because your pictures are better than the ones they publish.”
“But I don’t have any experience.”
She leaned over her desk and slowly repeated, “Your pictures are better than the ones they publish!”
Through her urging Darrell applied for a job at the Tri-County Times and to his surprise was offered the position as the newspaper’s first full-time staff photographer.
After about a year of working for the Tri-County Times, he decided he should to go back to school and learn how to do the job he already had. So, he enrolled in the Journalism and Mass Communications program at nearby Iowa State University in Ames, graduating in 1988.
Darrell Goemaat then began a distinguished career in photojournalism at several newspapers. He worked for the Ames Tribune in Ames, Iowa; for the Herald and Review in Decatur, Illinois; and for the Copley Chicago News Service in Elgin, Illinois. One of his assignments at the latter newspaper was to coordinate the coverage of the 1996 Democratic presidential convention in Chicago.
While in Decatur, the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches and its publishing house, Regular Baptist Press, in Schaumburg, Illinois, contacted him to do some freelance work for them. That relationship continued until the GARBC invited him to join the staff in 1999. He currently serves as the photography director for Regular Baptist Press, which includes the magazine, The Baptist Bulletin, and the GARBC websites
His ministry with the GARBC and Regular Baptist Press has taken him to many places in the United States and several international locations. He has covered ministry to pastors in the Ukraine; evangelistic ministries at the Olympic games in Sydney, Australia, and Athens, Greece; pastors’ meetings in Hungary and the Czech Republic; and relief aid for believers and churches after the Haiti earthquake. He recently covered a story with syndicated columnist and FOX News commentator Cal Thomas.
Living in the Chicago area, his work came to the attention of the Chicago Tribune, a leading newspaper in the country. He has had many freelance assignments especially covering sports and concerts.
Darrell and his wife have three children: Andrea, age 21; Renae, age 16; and Carson, age 8. They are active members of First Baptist Church of Arlington Heights, Illinois, where he currently he serves as the Junior High Sunday School teacher, deacon, and choir member.
In a presentation he recently made before some Christian journalists, he shared these thoughts about life.
1. Be humble.
2. Promote the Lord, not yourself.
3. Be a servant of others, not a slave to your work.
4. Character is more important than career. God cares more about who you are than what you do.
5. Value reputation and relationships––NOT rewards.
6. Realize people are more important than prestige.
7. Leave a godly legacy.
Darrell Goemaat certainly models these characteristics.
Because of his distinguished career as a Christian photojournalist and his godly character and service for Christ, the Faith Alumni Association is pleased to present the 2013 male Alumnus of the Year award to Mr. Darrell Goemaat.