Posted: September 30, 2015
On Saturday, September 26, the 2015 Hope International University Spirit of Hope Concert & Awards Gala hosted 550 guests at the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom for a sparkling evening of celebration, inspiration, and philanthropy. The University’s signature event raised over $130,000 toward student scholarships, highlighted new programs, and honored individuals and organizations that exemplify the “Spirit of Hope.”
The inaugural Royals Baseball Team made its first official HIU appearance. Coaches and players were introduced, and the team members greeted the audience with exuberant smiles as they were presented with their new jerseys.
Charles E. “Chuck” Puckett, long-time supporter and trustee of Hope International University, received the Spirit of Hope Award. Puckett is the Mayor of Tustin, California, and has served the City as an elected official for more than two decades. He is committed to letting his faith shine through his words and actions in every endeavor, an effort that regularly is noticed by observers.
Puckett believes that HIU is preparing students to live and serve that way, too. “Whether they become politicians or pastors or teachers, HIU is teaching them how to live and work their faith,” he said. “That is why [my wife] Donna and I support HIU.”
Toby Yurek (1995) received the Distinguished Alumni Award, based on his representation of the Christian faith through a 20-year career in law enforcement with the Henderson, Nevada Police Department. He retired from service after serving as Commander of the Tactical Response Bureau, which includes the SWAT and K-9 divisions. During his career, he earned both a Master of Criminal Justice degree and a Juris Doctorate. Although he recently retired, Yurek continues to serve his brothers and sisters in law enforcement as a Worker’s Compensation attorney.
Michael Johnson (2009) received HIU’s new Distinguished Young Alumni Award. Johnson teaches special education for Citrus Hills Intermediate School in Corona, and distinguished himself as an educator last year. When introduced to his new class, Michael discovered that a number of his students were hearing-impaired, so he learned American Sign Language on the job. He also decided to teach it to the students without hearing challenges, so that all of his students could communicate better in and outside the classroom.
Knott Avenue Christian Church (Anaheim) and Parkcrest Christian Church (Long Beach) received Supporting Church awards. Both churches are diligent supporters of HIU, both financially and through their recruitment of church members to attend the University. They also share HIU’s passion for service, delivering robust missions programs to their own communities and around the globe.
The University announced six award recipients for their significant contributions to the Ignite Hope Capital Campaign: Stanley Fulton, First Christian Church of Huntington Beach, Charles & Mildred Arnold, Gray & Clora Farley, Treasures N’ Beyond Thrift Store, and Diamond Canyon Christian Church.
“Tonight’s award recipients model Hope’s mission through their own lives and responses to God’s call,” said Michael Mulryan, Vice President for Institutional Advancement. “It is HIU’s honor to be associated with them, and to say thank you for their vital partnership and support.”
Guests were entertained and inspired by Sarah Laughing, a 10-piece Christian soul/funk band, which played selections from its two albums. The group’s co-founder and lead singer, Loren Hartman, is a 2002 graduate of HIU’s graduate program. The University’s own Praise Choir and Praise Team, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Cho, also performed during the evening’s festivities.