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Buckner International breaks ground on $6 million project for new campus

LONGVIEW, Texas – Buckner International executives and community leaders broke ground this morning to begin construction on the $6 million dollar project for the new Buckner Family Place and Buckner Family Hope Center in Longview on property the faith-based organization purchased last year.

Supporters gathered for a brief ceremony prior to the groundbreaking on the new four-acre property located at 1102 S. High St., across from Ware Elementary School.

Last fall, officials unveiled details of the plans, which include building 17 new apartments for the Family Place ministry, a transitional housing program for single parents and their children. The new Family Hope Center replaces the current program in Longview located across from First Baptist Church.

The projects have been named in recognition of two Longview couples who have been longstanding supporters and advocates of Buckner. The Mac and Tom Stone Buckner Family Place is named after former Buckner board of directors chairman and trustee emeritus, Tom and his wife, Margaret “Mac” Stone. The Linda and Ken Hall Buckner Family Hope Center is named after retired Buckner president and CEO, Kenneth and his wife, Linda Hall. Hall is the former pastor of First Baptist Church Longview.

“We are able to break ground at this time because of the incredible financial support of our community,” said David Ummel, executive director of Buckner Children and Family Services of East Texas. “The Longview community has supported this project every step of the way because of their passion for serving the less fortunate and the proven track record Buckner has established for helping vulnerable children and families. While we haven’t reached 100 percent of our goal, we could not be more encouraged by the progress we have made thanks to this community.”

Founded in Dallas in 1879 as Buckner Orphans Home, Buckner International is a global ministry today, operating across Texas and in eight countries. In addition to services for orphans, vulnerable children and families, Buckner also operates seven continuing care retirement communities in Texas, including Buckner Westminster Place, which opened in Longview in 1996, joining Buckner Children and Family Services, which began serving the Longview community in 1992. Albert Reyes is president/CEO of Buckner, succeeding the former pastor of First Baptist Church Longview Ken Hall, who retired as CEO of Buckner in 2012.

“This community means a lot to Buckner,” Ummel said. “It is the base for our volunteers, and our adoptive and foster care parents. This is where our clients live. It is our home. We’ve been here for a long time and we’re here for the long run.”

Information about the expansion plans and the “Shining Hope Longview Campaign” is available online at www.shininghopelongview.org. Longview resident Kim Wright is serving as campaign coordinator for the fundraising effort and can be reached at kwright@buckner.org or by phone at 903-757-9383.

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