In a small rural town a young man sweated as he and others labored on the new church building. The church was important, and everyone contributed either by labor or by funds. This young man, Roy Pate, was an industrious man. Although he was never able to finish high school, he, nonetheless, understood the value of an education. [caption id="attachment_1462" align="alignright" width="160"]6B4A4444 Colby Leonard shares part of his story during the 2013 Dinner of Celebration.[/caption] His wife, Floy, also, was unable to finish high school. They were good country people, hoping to make enough money to provide for their six children. The youngest of the six was a girl, Merle Pate. Growing up, she had always wanted to be a nurse. After completing high school, she entered into the Druid City Hospital Nursing School. It was hard work. Her time was divided into either studying or working to pay for school. She soon married a young mechanic named Gene Leonard. They had four children. And this is where I come into the story. Like my grandparents, my Mom and Dad knew how important education was. They worked many long hours, taking extra shifts. They instilled this value into each child. After a long, hot day of manual labor, I often heard my Dad say, “Son, I want you to be able to go to college and have greater opportunities.” By my parents’ hard work and God’s grace, we were all able to attend college. I was at Huntingdon College when I discerned a call into ordained ministry. Yet, this calling presented an obstacle. I had to go to seminary. Graduate school. The thought of getting the money was a daunting one. Yet, I learned about the Stegall Seminary Scholarship Foundation. I quickly found out that Dr. Stegall, like myself, had grown up in rural west Alabama, and walked some of the same steps into ministry as I had. The Stegall Seminary Scholarship Foundation has made it possible for me to attend seminary. I have thought about how my grandfather would feel about his grandson, not only attending college, but also being called into ministry. The two things he valued most were the church and education. My grandfather worked with his bare hands to help build the church, so that his children would have a place to worship. I see people like you each day that share my grandfather’s hope. I see people like you who want to help build the church by providing scholarships to help educate your future ministers. I thank you for your generous gifts that are giving me the opportunity to attend Duke, an opportunity that my grandfather and grandmother never had. With whatever gifts I have for ministry, I hope to make you proud. - Colby Leonard Coker, Alabama Duke Divinity School