by John C. Westervelt
Jesus instructed the twelve apostles saying, “Freely you received, freely give.” Jim Coover, a long time member of Asbury, has honored Jesus’ request.
Forty years ago, Nelda and I and our two young children moved into a new house in Sungate (the quarter-section southeast of fifty-first and Sheridan). Jim and LaRue Coover and their three girls moved in a few doors down. All of us freely received from the Sungate neighborhood and its swimming pool, from Salk and Byrd--our neighborhood schools, and from Asbury--our neighborhood church.
Some years later, Jan, one of Jim and LaRue’s daughters, married Mark Gregston. This was the first wedding at Asbury where both sets of parents were members of Asbury. Today, these two Christians own and operate Heartlight Ministries, an adolescent residential treatment center, in Hallsville, Texas.
Jim worked for the telephone company for thirty-seven years. Since early retirement eighteen years ago, Jim has been freely giving, as he has served year after year on the board of Sungate Neighbors. He was instrumental in adding new water pumps, an additional concrete area, and a new fence around the pool. As a result of his efforts, new flowering pear trees will shade the cars parked at the pool from the hot summer sun. Similar trees, some shrubs, and sprinklers now fill the median at the Sheridan entrance.
Jim helped organize work crews each year to clean up the Sungate entrances, the grounds around the pool, and the creek that runs by the pool. Many times as I was leaving the neighborhood, I would see Jim alone on the sweating end of a shovel at the pool or neighborhood entrance. At the annual Sungate block party, Jim can always be found cooking hamburgers for all of the neighbors.
Jim made a personal call on every homeowner in Sungate to ask for a fifteen-dollar donation, so the neighborhood could get streetlights with attractive, fiberglass poles rather than wooden poles. I think that God enjoys beauty in a neighborhood as much as Jim does.
Six hundred homeowners in Sungate are grateful that Jim listened to and acted on Jesus’ admonition to freely give.
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