Briarwood Online Gala
Olin & Carolyn Knudsen
Jim & Holly Trester & Family
Bishop Gronberg, Dr Kendra Mohn & Family
Jerry Gray & Kathleen Bower Gray
Preston Meadow Lutheran Church
Christ Lutheran Church, Odessa
Organizational Partner: Thrivent Financial
Thrivent Financial (accepted by the Ridgemont Offices of Thrivent Financial)
2019 was a fantastic year for the partnership between Briarwood Leadership Center and Thrivent. This was true at all levels of the Thrivent organization: local, regional, and national. The Ridgemont Offices of Thrivent has been a longtime supporter of the Briarwood Golf Outing, directed annually by Board Member Greg Getting. Our long-established relationship with the Ridgemont Offices has linked Briarwood to other expressions of the Thrivent organization, regionally and nationally. Thrivent operates at hyper-local levels to support community engagement. By maximizing those relationships, organizations are able to benefit from the organization as a whole. Thrivent is unique in being a non-profit financial services organization. This means that their profits are reinvested in communities throughout the United States and the world. AND you get a good return on investments. Last year, Briarwood partnered with the regional and national offices of Thrivent on the Cooking for Christ event, which was linked to Briarwood Night at the home opener for the Texas Legends. That planning then led to an amazing Giving Tuesday event we hope to replicate every year.
Advocate: Rev. Diane Eggemeyer, Trinity Evangelical, Miles
Rev. Diane currently serves as Pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Miles, Texas. Miles is located northwest of San Angelo; it is one of the NT-NL congregations most geographically distant from Briarwood and the Synod offices. Having just completed serving two full terms on the Briarwood Board, Diane has been a strong voice for rural congregations throughout our synod and for finding ways to connect smaller congregations throughout the vast area of northern Texas. Part of that effort has been advocating for the expansion of Briarwood’s capacities in the areas of teleconferencing and archived digital resources, ensuring access to the Leadership Center across the miles. Through Pastor Diane, Trinity Lutheran Church has been a strong supporter of the Gala; several of the quilts on the silent auction table every year come from the quilters in Miles. This is a beautiful ministry, signifying warmth, shelter, and comfort for all in need. Briarwood has been strengthened by Pastor Diane’s vision of the whole church, recognized as a ministry of our Synod in mission together. As she heads off into retirement, we wish her well and look forward to many more years of ongoing relationship.
Volunteer of the Year: Chip Sakakeeny, Abiding Grace, Southlake
This recognition for Chip Sakakeeny isn’t just for his volunteer work in 2019, but for his many, many years of connection and service to Briarwood. Most recently, Chip served on the Briarwood Board for two full terms. Chip was always an enthusiastic participant in Board meetings, always asking incisive questions, especially about budget details. This kept everyone on their respective toes, ensuring financial responsibility for the entire organization. A seasoned real estate professional, Chip was instrumental in completing our land sale process, a significant contribution to Briarwood’s present financial solvency. A couple of personal details about Chip. Although a longtime member of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Grapevine, Chip is of Lebanese Christian background. He celebrates that heritage in many aspects of his life. Chip is not the only person in his family to be involved at Briarwood. Briarwood is a Sakakeeny family legacy. His daughters have been counselors and team leads, as well as the Summer Health Coordinator. His son continues to be a camper, getting in all sorts of adventures to this day.