As the ground under The Wesley Foundation is broken and readied for the construction of a new building, we are reminded of the continuing foundations of hospitality, worship, leadership development, healing and wholeness, and shared community that will always remain. In this season of change, we are excited to announce that we will be going back to our roots, our pillars, and our legacies. We are committed to telling your stories and celebrating the legacy of love that has been built here at The Wesley Foundation.
Legacy of Community: Burt & Norma Casad
When I interviewed Mrs. Norma Casad, I was aiming for a story that would highlight one of our five pillars: hospitality, worship, leadership development, healing and wholeness, and shared community. Instead, Norma’s story reminded me of all of the five pillars; her story is full of beauty and special provision.
So, I asked Norma what was special to her about the Wesley and without skipping a beat she reminisced on meeting her husband, Burton Casad, there while they were both in college. But there was more to the story. Not only did Norma meet her husband there, but she also found comfort, acceptance, and community.
As Norma continued to remember her college years, she described herself as a farm girl from a small town, coming into college with almost no science classes, and while the other girls went to the snack bar, she struggled to relate and find her place. The Wesley Foundation changed all of that.
Within a few weeks, Norma found The Wesley Foundation and felt immediately at home. No longer did she feel out of place, but accepted by a group of peers who would become her best friends. From the beginning, Norma felt at home, comfortable, and safe to grow. During her sophomore year, she met Burton at a retreat at Camp Pawnee, and “the rest is history.”
When I asked Norma why the Wesley remains significant to her and Burt today, she called it a “life-saver”. At the Wesley, Norma found her people, the ones who would be her best friends for a lifetime. She recalls learning an immense amount at the Wesley, from spiritual lessons to emotional growth, Norma calls the Wesley “life enriching”. From a fruitful marriage, to friendships that have spanned 60 years, Norma’s life has indeed been enriched greatly by the people and the experiences at The Wesley Foundation.
To this day, Norma is grateful for the home and the friendships, the love and the lessons, and the life that she found at The Wesley Foundation.
Burton and Norma Casad have been involved with The Wesley Foundation for over fifty years, and Burton Casad graciously serves on the Board of Governors.
Legacy of Hospitality: Michael Brown
When the shovel hit the dirt and the walls of the old Wesley Foundation building came down, alumnus Michael Brown came to us with a story of the home that he found at the Wesley Foundation during his college years at Oklahoma State University.
Mr. Brown’s story leaves a legacy of the hospitality that The Wesley Foundation treasures, it is a legacy upon which we intend to erect our new building. We believe that his story, and others, will serve as a testament to the values we hold at the core of The Wesley Foundation.
Michael Brown was a 1964 graduate of Hugo High School and always knew he wanted to attend Oklahoma State University. Mr. Brown had a humble upbringing in a small town where his father ran the local auto salvage and wrecker service, and his goal of being the first in his family to graduate college was his driving force. How he would pay for school was another story.
Ten days before classes were set to start in the fall of 1964, a somewhat naive Mr. Brown made an appointment with Murl Rogers, a former resident of Hugo and a friend of Michael’s father. On Michael’s behalf, Murl made a call, and, by the end of the day, Michael had a home at the foundation. A generously affordable room in the air conditioned basement of that building became the very center of his college life for the next four years.
Today, Michael Brown heads a video production studio in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, and he has always been quick to share his experiences at The Wesley Foundation of the hospitality, generosity, friendships and blessings he received while living there.
In no small measure, the open arms of The Wesley Foundation helped Mr. Michael Brown achieve his goal in being the first person in his family to graduate college. In his eyes, and ours, a remarkable legacy.