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The very name, Auburn, stirs in the hearts and minds of faithful fans the heroes from the past in athletic competition. Names like Pat

Rev. David Goolsby. Photo courtesy of Patrica Stevenson

Sullivan, Bo Jackson, Cam Newton, Charles Barkley, Frank Thomas, and Tim Hudson embody the definition of heroes as “persons who are admired or idealized for courage, outstand- ing achievements, or noble qual- ities.” To that list of Auburn he- roes who won Heisman Trophies, or made All-American, or were voted into Halls of Fame, I would like to add another Auburn hero, William David Goolsby.

David was born on January 5, 1956 in Midland, Texas. He grew up, just like Laura Bush, in the First United Methodist Church of Midland. David’s mother and Laura Bush went to the same hairdresser! After graduation from high school in Midland and the University of Texas in Austin, David enrolled at Scarritt College in Nashville. It was there that he met the beautiful Sarah Warren, a United Methodist minister’s daughter from Florida. They were married on August 16, 1980, and God blessed them with two sons, Bryan (Charlotte) and Benjamin (Abby) and one grandchild, Camden.

In 1980, while the Reverend Jim Dannelly was serving as the senior minister of the Auburn United Methodist Church, he invited David and Sarah to join their staff as Christian ed- ucators. When the position of Director of the Auburn Wesley Foundation became open in 1983, David became the “in- terim director,” a title that he claims he never relinquished. Over the next 38 years, David did something rather remark- able. He took an Auburn Wesley Foundation that was strug- gling to survive, and under his dynamic leadership, it was transformed into what is, perhaps, today one of the finest Wesley Foundations in the United States. As an extremely visionary leader with a high level of energy, David created student leadership teams at Auburn Wesley that were un- surpassed. As an enabler of students, he made sure that his students were engaged in local, regional, and international mission trips on a regular basis. rough all of his years as the Director, David modeled servant leadership, never too busy to wash dishes, or sweep, mop, and wax the floors. New students often thought he was the custodian!

When David retired on June 30, 2021 and slipped out the back door of the Wesley Foundation, there was no huge retirement reception, nor a large monetary gift, nor a build- ing named in his honor. As a humble servant, David would not have been comfortable with that kind of recognition. However, there was something that was an even better trib- ute to him: all across the Alabama-West Florida Conference today, there are effective ministers who are serving our churches because of David Goolsby!

When you think of all of the wonderful United Method- ist ministers nurtured and encouraged by the Auburn Wes- ley, it may be that the limited amount of monies we channel to the Auburn Wesley Foundation through our Conference apportionments each year provide the “greatest bang for the buck” than all of our other gifts to mission. Through God’s grace, David has done so much with so little! As a tribute to David, I would like to invite you to join me in making a gift in honor of Rev. David Goolsby to the Auburn Wesley Foundation, P. O. Box 3488, Auburn, Alabama 36831.

David, thanks for being an Auburn hero in the truest sense of the word over these past 38 years!