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Hearts Helping Others is a program operated by EudoraReporter.com where each month, we select an individual or family that is in need of help and give them a hand up.
Late last week I had the opportunity to meet two truly unique individuals in the community, Gordon Duzan and his wife Terry. Gordon is a Baptist Minister who has been running the Yokefellow Baptist Church in Eudora since 2007. We will talk more about the church shortly but you need to know first about these fine individuals.
Gordon served in the military and was injured during the Vietnam War. After his injury, he was returned to Fort Dix, New Jersey where he found two things, his wife Terry and God. Gordon and Terry, after leaving the military, traveled the country taking over churches that were in dire straits and helped to turn them around. He and Terry would then move on to the next one.
Finally in 2007, the settled here north of Eudora and started a Bible Study group run out of their house. Gordon continued to minister to people nearby and slowly started building a following. After outgrowing their house, and at the urging of several of the bible study group members, they decided to start the Yokefellow Baptist Church. The church holds services every Sunday at the Hillcrest Apartments Clubhouse located at 703 W. 8th Street at 1:30PM. They also continue to have a Bible Study group that meets every Thursday night at 6:30 at the same location.
Gordon and Terry were putting a lot of time into running a church and things were going well for them until May of 2010. Gordon was sitting at his normal hangout, Anthony’s Diner where he meets several friends from the church on a regular basis, when he suddenly had a heart attack.
“They lost me three times, here at Anthony’s, on the way to the hospital and again at the hospital.” Through the power of great doctors and divine intervention, Gordon made it through the heart attack. Gordon credits both his doctor and the Lord for his recovery. If dealing with a heart attack is not enough of a trauma to get through, Gordon busted both hips during the attack. Gordon still has difficulty walking because of the busted hips and deals with a much regimented medical rehabilitation program to help his heart.
Many people say “God will never give you more than you can handle.” Well, that is definitely put to the test in Gordon and Terry’s situation. In January 2011, in a matter of minutes, their house north of town burned to the ground. While firefighters tried to do what they could, time was not on their side.
Holding his hands out about as wide as his body frame, Gordon stated “The longest piece of wood that remained after the fire was only this long. All my memories, papers, everything…gone in just minutes. We only had the clothes we wearing left.”
Gordon and Terry did receive a lot of help from the Baptist Community, not only in Eudora but from all over the Midwest. “We had people drive up furniture and items from Oklahoma. It was truly amazing how these people reached out to us to help.” Gordon and Terry are currently renting a house in Eudora while going through the ordeal of insurance companies and work so that they can rebuild a home for themselves.
Through it all, Gordon and Terry have not lost their faith or drive to spread the good word. Gordon, when we told him what we were writing about, preferred the story not to be about him or Terry but about the church. The trials and tribulations that would make most people question their luck, their life or beliefs would be understandable. Despite the issues, Gordon and Terry’s outlook on life is extremely positive.
One of the gifts that Gordon and Terry receive from the Hearts Helping Others program is a $100 gift card to the Black Cat Café. In the true sense of paying it forward, Gordon asked if he himself had to use the gift card. “I can help feed some people with this who are truly in need.” With the expenses for medical costs, trying to run a church, and rebuild a life from a devastating fire, we think Gordon fits into the “truly in need” category. Gordon disagreed with me. “My life is blessed.”
One other note which I promised Gordon I would mention: The church needs some musical leadership. If you are willing to share talents and help provide some type of service to the Yokefellow Baptist Church community, feel free to head over to the Hillcrest Apartment Clubhouse any Thursday evening or Sunday afternoon and talk to Gordon. They also serve a great pot luck lunch/dinner after the Sunday service which Gordon said is some of the greatest food you’ll ever taste.
Gordon and Terry have been given, courtesy an anonymous donor, a $100 gift card to the Black Cat Cafe and they both will receive some TLC in the form of hair care courtesy Diane Elmer at Heads or Nails Family Salon, both in downtown Eudora.
We would like to thank that anonymous donor and Diane Elmer for their kind generosity. These people are truly hearts in our community. We would also like to thank the Hearts Helping Others Committee that has the task of choosing an individual or family each month and taking time out of their busy schedules to work on this project.
Hearts Helping Others is a way for our community to help give back to others from our community. Each month, Hearts Helping Others will identify a recipient who needs a helping hand. The story above is just one example of someone in need.
Many other examples exist in our own backyard here in Eudora. We need you to tell us about other great stories. We are accepting nominations for April. You can nominate a person or family by going to http://www.eudorareporter.com/hearts-helping-others/. We have a form on our website to nominate an individual or family or you can email us with their story. The email address is: email@example.com