For a close-knit group of volunteers at River Trails Elementary sponsored by First Baptist Church Hurst, it was clear something was off at their Beach Club on the last day of November. One of their faithful surf team leaders, Cheryl Luttrell, passed away unexpectedly the weekend after Thanksgiving.
In her three and a half years of volunteering, Miss Cheryl had not missed one club. As a retired second grade teacher of 32 years, she felt most comfortable leading the third-grade surf team at the club each year. Because of that faithfulness to lead, most of the 71 children in the River Trails Beach Club once had Miss Cheryl as their surf team leader.
Seasoned volunteer Judy Beck took over the third-grade surf team in Miss Cheryl’s absence. That day, the character word was unplanned, yet quite fitting: determination.
“When I think of the word determination, Miss Cheryl is who comes to mind,” Beck said.
Unlike most volunteers, Miss Cheryl was bound to a wheel chair after a lifelong battle with cerebral palsy. She was an independent woman who never married and gave her life to serve the Lord.
In early December, Beck used surf team time to discuss the character word and go over their memory link as usual, but the word determination naturally steered all examples and conversation to things about Miss Cheryl.
“She showed determination because she came even in her wheelchair,” Aubrey said. Another child, Jessalyn, told the group how her mom had always told her she could learn a lot from Miss Cheryl.
“Miss Cheryl always had determination,” Beck said. “She did not let circumstances come in her way. She had limitations, but she didn’t quit and complain. She was determined to keep on living life.”
Once it was time for the big group story, club leader Deni Morrow continued the theme of explaining the character word through honoring their special volunteer. She explained to the children how it was hard for Miss Cheryl to come to club.
“She would drive to club by herself in her van, and she would slowly inch across the side of it to get to her wheel chair stored in the back. It was hard but she was determined to get to club.
“She did that because she believed in what we talk about at Beach Club,” Morrow said.
Morrow was then able to present the gospel to the children and highlight that Miss Cheryl had made Jesus her Forever Friend. “Because she did that, Miss Cheryl is spending eternity with Jesus! She is no longer in her wheelchair but running and jumping in heaven.”
“Miss Cheryl wants you to know her Savior too! She knows how important it is to ask God to forgive you,” Morrow said. “We want you to know how you can be in God’s presence.”
Although no children made a profession of faith that day, the volunteers are determined to keep giving every child a Jesus experience through Beach Club at River Trails Elementary.
Published on Jan 11 @ 5:41 PM CDT