Buckner Honors Valued Volunteers, Donors at Founder's Day

By Jenny Pope

Click here to view the awards videos from the event.

(DALLAS, Texas)
– In celebration of more than 130 years of serving orphans, at-risk children and families, Buckner International honored its top volunteers and donors at its annual R.C. Buckner Founder’s Day dinner on April 24 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.

Award recipients for 2009 included WMBW, WMKW, WFCM Radio Stations for Dedicated Service; Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and CBF Texas for Dedicated Church Service; and Christ is our Salvation Foundation for Philanthropists of the Year.

“We could not do the work we do without the faithful and generous support of these groups,” said Buckner President and CEO Kenneth L. Hall. “The recipients for this year’s awards have been working and serving with Buckner for many years. They are invaluable to us.”

Each recipient has distinguished itself through unique dedication and service.

[caption id="attachment_989" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Leighton LeBoeuf, general manager of WMBW radio in Chattanooga, Tennessee takes a picture with Dr. Kenneth Hall. WMBW, WMKW and WFCM Radio received the Buckner Founder's Award for Dedicated Servce. "][/caption]

The roots of the ‘Shoes for Orphan Souls’ ministry of Buckner run deep in radio, so it’s no surprise that now, 15 years since it all started at KCBI and on the 10th anniversary of Buckner running the program, radio is still critical to success of the ministry. And WMBW radio in Chattanooga, Tenn., a Moody Broadcasting Network affiliate, is a vital partner.

As Moody’s oldest owned and operated radio station, WMBW held its first shoe drive in 2001. Since then, General Manager Leighton LeBoeuf said the drive “has taken on a life of its own.”

The radio station’s shoe drive has expanded from eight drop-off locations to more than 200. Shoes and socks pour in from Tennessee and the four surrounding states. To date, WMBW has collected more than 88,000 pairs of shoes and nearly 428,000 pairs of socks for orphans at 847 drop-off locations.

“Judging from the continued growth, I would say that the shoe drive has had a major impact in our listener’s lives,” LeBoeuf said. “I think it’s knowing that they’re doing something significant … and helping orphans is what scripture commands us to do.”

In 2003, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Buckner signed a joint agreement called KidsHeart. The purpose of KidsHeart is to provide ministry to the most neglected children and families living in poverty along the U.S. border with Mexico.

[caption id="attachment_991" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Daniel Vestal, national coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship poses for a picture with Dr. Kenneth Hall. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship received the R.C. Buckner Founder's Award for Dedicated Church Service."][/caption]

“By responding to the most evident material needs of poor families, KidsHeart groups share the gospel with actions of love,” said Dexton Shores, Buckner director for Ministry Development for Mexico and the Border. “The beautiful result is lives transformed for Christ.”

During spring break each year and again in the summer, CBF groups flock to low-income colonias along the border to work in projects coordinated by Buckner Border Ministries staff.

CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The KidsHeart partnership with Buckner is part of CBF’s Together for Hope (TFH), a long-term commitment to working with people in 20 of the nation's poorest counties in order to affect change and break the cycle of economic disparity.

Christ is our Salvation was founded by Paul Piper Sr. who dreamed of building a Christ-honoring foundation to help others. It was matched by his dream for business success, and Piper Industries grew to a diversified company with 1,000 employees in 15 plants. CIOS grew right alongside.

“Dad started CIOS to spread the value of Jesus Christ as our Savior,” said Paul Piper Jr. who now directs the foundation with other family members. “It’s exactly what the name implies. Salvation was given freely to us and in turn, we give freely back.”

[caption id="attachment_990" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Shirley and Paul Piper and Katy Piper pose for a picture with Buckner President Kenneth Hall. Buckner awarded the Pipers with the R.C. Buckner Founder's award for Philanthropists of the year. "][/caption]

CIOS began its collaboration with Buckner in 1999 by establishing the Piper Family Fund for Christian Adoption, a loan program for adoptive families that eventually grew into grants. Since then, CIOS has funded initiatives that have helped build the Piper Cottage at the Rio Grande Children’s Home and expanded the Immigration Services and Aid (ISAAC) program.

The foundation’s two most significant gifts have helped Buckner expand its church and community initiatives nationally through KIDS HOPE USA, the Buckner Border Ministries, church collaborations, a program called Cool Kids and numerous after-school programs. A gift in 2008 helped expand even further over three years into 13 new locations with new ministries.

The 2008 R.C. Buckner Founder’s Day award recipients included First Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tenn., for Dedicated Church Service; ConocoPhillips for Dedicated Service; and Dennis and Ramonda Bingham, of Lubbock, Texas, for Philanthropist of the Year.

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