ETBU seniors honored for Christian service leadership

East Texas Baptist University seniors Colton Berryhill from Bullard, Texas, and Annie Walker from Montgomery, Texas, were honored on October 3 with the Bob and Gayle Riley Servant Leadership Award for consistently displaying Christian servant leadership on campus and in the community. ETBU President Emeritus Dr. Bob Riley and his wife, Gayle, took part in the ceremony and presented the honorees with a miniature replication of the “Divine Servant” statue, created by Max Greiner, which can also be found on campus at the entrance to the Rogers Spiritual Life Center.   

“Since there were so many students on campus that were servant leaders, we felt that recognizing a male and female each year would provide an emphasis that would be an encouragement to all our students,” Dr. Riley said. “The idea of servant leadership became important to our students, faculty and staff and has grown over the years. Gayle and I are very proud to have been a part of this continuing work of the Lord.” 

Two students are selected each year for the Bob and Gayle Riley Servant Leadership Award based on their embodiment of being a Christian servant leader in their daily lives. Fellow students, professors, and other members of the ETBU campus community submit nominations recognizing their dedication to pursuing a Christ-like practice of servanthood. During his presidential tenure, Dr. Riley founded the award to foster the mind and spirit of Christ portrayed by students through service and leadership at East Texas Baptist University. 

Colton Berryhill, a Christian ministry major, was announced as the 2022 male Servant Leader Award recipient. He has served in numerous organizations during his time at ETBU, including service as a Tiger Camp Leader, a Thrive Mentor, Resident Assistant, Baptist Student Ministry Leadership Team, and Leadership Fellows. Christian has been an active volunteer in the community through service at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview. 

“The various service opportunities on campus have taught me as a Christian that leading is truly following after the model of Christ,” Berryhill said. “Serving on campus has also taught me the importance of loving others and how others may need you to be that one light in their lives to help them grow and strive in their walk with Christ.” 

Annie Walker, an elementary education major, was recognized this year as the 2022 female Servant Leader Award recipient. She is a member of the Boys and Girls Club ministry, Baptist Student Ministry Leadership, Leadership Fellows, and Student Foundation. Annie has been an active volunteer in the community through service at New Beginnings Baptist Church in Longview. 

“Annie embodies what is means to give and not expect anything in return,” ETBU Baptist Student Ministry Director David Griffin said. “In all of her roles, she serves faithfully, diligently seeking to serve others and do more than was asked of her.” 

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