Hail Destroys Eagle Farms Crops

Hail Destroys Eagle Farms Crops

A massive hailstorm tore through Lawrence County and other parts of Northeast Arkansas on April 15, resulting in the near total loss of spring crops planted at WBU’s Eagle Farms. The hail devastated a full acre of strawberries, which were within three weeks of harvest, as well as a wide range of other crops.


The storm produced hail as large as golf balls, accumulating six inches deep across the Williams campus. The storm also created a verified funnel cloud near Walnut Ridge. No injuries were reported, and all buildings were left structurally sound. However, numerous vehicles and all building roofs across campus were damaged, leaving the university to pay substantial insurance deductibles for repairs to school property.


“The biggest blow at Eagle Farms was the loss of our strawberry crop,” said Dr. Brett Cooper, who supervises the Williams Works initiative.


“Strawberries are a high demand crop that produce a strong profit margin, and this year’s crop was looking great. We estimate the loss of strawberries, coupled with the loss of the other crops, to be about $42,000 in revenue. That’s money that would have gone toward scholarships.”


Cooper said before the storm hit, Williams Works students had planned to start harvesting strawberries in early May. The intense hail also stripped blackberries, blueberries and raspberries of their foliage and buds, effectively eliminating production from those plants this year.


“The hail also destroyed all of the annual vegetables we had planted, such as squash, okra, peppers, cucumbers and produce like that,” he said. “At least with annual crops like those we were able to replant and still get a crop, albeit a late one. But with all our berries, the year’s crop is lost.”


There was good news to report after the storm, most notably the lack of injuries. It hit on Good Friday, so most students had traveled home for Easter and were off campus. And two new greenhouses at Eagle Farms were, remarkably, undamaged.


However, the storm took a financial toll.


“Between lost revenue on the farm and deductibles on our insurance claims, this storm has proven costly to Williams,” said WBU President Dr. Stan Norman. “Our insurers have worked diligently to assess the damage and work through the process of claims and repairs, but costs from events like this nearly always exceed what insurance covers. This is what we are encountering in the aftermath of this storm.”


The president expressed his gratitude to supporters who have helped fill the financial void left by the hailstorm.


“We are so thankful to supporters who have given at this time to help offset our storm losses,” Norman said. “God has used WBU’s supporters in a special way through this ordeal, providing gifts that helped the university monetarily, but also were a big encouragement to us. We appreciate them deeply.”


Those who would like to support WBU as it recovers from the hailstorm can do so online at williamsbu.edu/ give and type “Hail Recovery” in the “name of project” line.

The Williams Way in Action: Haskins Quick Thinking Saves A Life

The Williams Way in Action: Haskins Quick Thinking Saves A Life

Baylee Haskins never thought she would be in a situation to save someone’s life when she woke up on the morning of Oct. 31, 2021, but sometimes fate has a way of intervening in ways you never thought were possible.


Haskins, a WBU senior from Walnut Ridge, was with friends in rural Lawrence County when a woman rushed up to them saying her husband had been injured and trapped nearby in an ATV accident. They reached the scene before emergency personnel could arrive and found the man pinned in the wreckage, bleeding profusely from a badly injured arm.


Realizing the need to stem the blood loss, Haskins called her father to find out how to apply a tourniquet. Her father, Alan Haskins, heads the Fire Training Center at Black River Technical College and is a former Walnut Ridge fire chief, and he gave Bailey instructions over the phone. She fashioned a tourniquet from the ATV’s window seal and a stick and applied it successfully.


After about 10 minutes, emergency personnel arrived on scene and transported the injured man to a nearby hospital where he received further medical attention. They noted that without Haskins’ help, he could have lost his life due the amount of blood he was losing due to the injury.


“I don’t know that I’ve ever been as proud of her as I am right now,” Alan Haskins said. “She gave someone another Christmas, another birthday, some more time with their family. That’s special. That’s pretty special.”


Haskins was recognized by the Williams Baptist University Board of Trustees on December 4th for her efforts, but Haskins said she doesn’t want to be thought of as a hero. She said she’s just a person who did what they had to do, and she couldn’t have done it without the help of her friends.


“I just want to give recognition to my friends, because without them I wouldn’t have been able to put that tourniquet on,” she said.


Others noted that what Haskins accomplished was nothing short of a miracle, even those trained for these situations, let alone someone who just happened upon the situation.


“Baylee was able to call her father for help, and maintained a cool demeanor while she was talked through the process of creating and applying a life-saving medical adjunct,” said Brian Luetschwager, director of the criminal justice department at WBU. “This is no small feat for those trained in emergency medical care, let alone a layperson.”


The entire Williams Baptist University community commended Baylee for what she did and recognized her for outstanding role in saving the life of another person.


“Bailey is a great example of WBU students doing things the ‘Williams Way,’” said WBU President Dr. Stan Norman. “Her quick response, calm demeanor and compassion saved a man’s life. She is a credit to this institution and her community, and it is our pleasure to honor her.”

Alumni Profile: Foundation for Scofield’s Work Laid at Williams

Alumni Profile: Foundation for Scofield’s Work Laid at Williams

As a young boy growing up in rural Montana, Aaron Scofield had no idea Williams Baptist University (then Williams Baptist College) existed, let alone the impact it would have on his life.


While he was preparing to graduate high school he filled out a questionnaire for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) that matched him to Williams.


“I knew I wanted to go to a school in the southern part of the United States and I knew I wanted to attend a Christian school,” he said. “One day, seemingly out of nowhere a packet for Williams showed up. I read the information, it seemed like a great fit to me so I applied and was accepted.”


His first time visiting the campus was for new student orientation in the fall of 2003 and it was during this time that God began to work a change in his life. He had a passion for working with young children and pursued a degree in education to teach middle school children. However, God had a different plan for Scofield that he acknowledges he did not even see until many years later.


Scofield surrendered to ministry during his junior year at WBU, and that was not something he had even considered just a few months prior.


“I felt the call seemingly out of nowhere,” he said. “But I felt like I was being led and I began to follow that path.”


After graduating from a seminary in Canada, Scofield and his wife moved back to Montana where he began his career as a pastor. It was during this time that he saw a need for someone to help children in broken homes and Scofield found the path God had been preparing him for.


Across the country, 400,000 plus children rely on foster care each year. In Montana, 3,000 children are at risk and in need of foster care. Scofield said the number of children in foster care could vary by 100 depending on the day.


In 2015 he went to work for Child Bridge, an organization dedicated to helping children in the foster care system. While with the organization, Scofield equipped families with trauma training, participated in adoption hearings and oversaw children reuniting with their biological parents in a safe environment.


He took the knowledge from his time at Child Bridge and has partnered with the state chapter of Promise 686, a national faith-based organization that supports foster families.


“Throughout my time at Child Bridge I had multiple conversations with churches, pastors and families about the specific needs in our area,” Scofield said. “I took those conversations and my other past experiences and tried to find an organization that fit exactly what we needed in our part of Montana.” As the organization’s director, Scofield mobilizes local church communities to support foster families by implementing a step-bystep model called Family Advocacy Ministries (FAMs). FAMs give churches training and tools to serve the foster and adoptive community, as well as biological families in crisis.


Within FAMs, a connecting platform, CarePortal, notifies local churches of requests submitted on behalf of partner agencies, such as Montana’s Child and Family Services, schools, state and tribal organizations. Those requests are relayed through the online system to hundreds of volunteers in the church community. Since CarePortal was launched in the state in 2017, Scofield estimates it has helped nearly 1,000 Montana children.


Currently, Promise 686 partners with over 40 churches throughout the state of Montana and he receives calls daily from others asking how they can help. His hope is to see the organization have a statewide presence.


“I often think back how God has just opened door after door for me in my life,” Scofield said. “I had never heard of Williams before I applied and I firmly believe that the environment of the faculty and staff there nurtured and prepared me for what God had planned for me. I owe a lot to the school and the people for shaping and molding me.”


For more information, visit www.promise686.org/montana/ or contact Aaron Scofield at ascofield@promise686.org.

Opening of Williams Corner

Opening of Williams Corner

Williams Corner officially opened its doors early in the spring of 2022 and business has been booming ever since.


Described as the “unofficial front door” to the Williams Works program and Williams Baptist University, Williams Corner will give patrons an opportunity to learn about Williams in a unique way, while also shopping for specialty items, gifts, candles, produce, flowers and much more.


Williams Corner officially opened in March and held its grand opening ceremony on April 8. Many of the items for sale in the store were grown and selected with the help of Williams Works students, who help run and manage the store’s day-to-day operations.


“The opening of Williams Corner is another step in our Williams Works initiative and serves as an outlet for the produce and other goods grown on Eagle Farms,” WBU President Dr. Stan Norman said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We are thankful to all the community leaders and members and the WBU Board of Trustees who gathered with us today for this historic day. We thank you all for your generosity and continued support of Williams Works and Williams Baptist University.”


Among those in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Dr. Norman, WBU Board of Trustees Chairman Jody Smotherman, WBU Board of Trustees members Jamar Andrews and JR Cox, Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp, Lawrence County Judge John Tomison, Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Renee Bland, Williams Corner store Manager Angela Flippo and Williams Corner student Managers Madison Creasy and Sarah Smith, members of the local community and WBU faculty and staff.


The store serves as the official outlet for produce grown by Williams Works students on Eagle Farms. Much of the produce begins in the greenhouses and is transferred to the fields to finish its growing process. Students on the farm pick produce fresh daily and bring it to the store for processing. It is then placed in the store for sale to the public and a list of the fresh produce available each day is posted on the store’s Facebook page.


“The response from the community has been fantastic,” Flippo said. “Our customers have continually come in looking to see what new items we have in stock and what produce is brought in from the farm. I think that is what makes this special, not only are you shopping local, but you are also shopping from Williams students who helped grow the produce or select the items in the store.”


The student-involvement is an aspect that attracts patrons to the store and the students gain valuable work experience and first-hand knowledge in customer service and marketing expertise. Creasy has helped build a social media presence for the store by posting daily with sales and in-stock items, while Smith has taken on a managerial role in ensuring the store is stocked daily.


“I know the knowledge I’m gaining in this program will help me get a job in whatever field, in my case education, that I want to go into,” Smith said. “I would not be able to get this kind of work experience with this kind of support anywhere else. I love my Williams family and I love the environment God has put me into to succeed. I would not want to be anywhere else.”


Likewise, for Creasy, the job has allowed her not only to gain work experience but also to explore new passions like photography as a result of her duties for posting to the Williams Corner Facebook and Instagram accounts.


“I always had a little interest in it, but it has really taken off since I came to work at the store,” she said. “I’ve been to get creative with our products in the store and find creative ways to show them off. I don’t think I would have ever found this creative side of myself had it not been for the Williams Works program.”


While the fresh produce is a big draw for many, Williams Corner offers much more. Students also grow fresh flowers and plants in one of the two greenhouses located on the Williams campus. The plants are then brought to the store’s front porch and marked for sale to the public. The porch has become somewhat of an iconic symbol for the store, distinguishing it to those driving by on the busy Highway 67.


“I think when they drive by and see the porch full of flowers it catches their attention,” Flippo said. “This is one the busiest highways we have and if we have people tell us all the time that they drove by and saw our porch turned around to see what we had for sale. I think it’s definitely a characteristic that people recognize.”


If produce and flowers are not your things, the store still has much more to offer. Various gift options from baby clothes to men’s wallets and beach attire to season decor line the walls of Williams Corner. It truly is a unique shopping experience that helps support the mission of Williams Baptist University to provide an excellent, holistically Christian, liberal arts education, while compassionately shaping students’ lives.


The Williams Works program is entering its third year and will welcome its third cohort of students this fall. The program has continued to grow each year through generous donations and support from local businesses and community members.


Williams Corner was made possible through that support and will continue to thrive with more support like it. Williams Corner is located at 3894 Hwy 67N in Walnut Ridge, next to the entrance of Williams Baptist University off highway 67.


For more information on Williams Corner visit the store’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/WilliamsCornerStore and for more information on the Williams Works program visit www.williamsbu. edu/williamsworks.