Bluefield University in the News

COLLEGE TO PRESENT 2017 ALUMNI AWARDS

by | Oct 12, 2017

Bluefield College will honor three of its outstanding graduates with distinguished alumni awards and two of its former student-athletes with induction into the BC Sports Hall of Fame, Saturday, October 21

Bluefield College will honor three of its outstanding graduates with distinguished alumni awards and two of its former student-athletes with induction into the BC Sports Hall of Fame, Saturday, October 21 during an Alumni Awards Luncheon at noon in Shott Hall, part of the school’s Homecoming and Family Weekend 2017.

Among the graduates to be honored: Erin Johnson DeHart (‘03) of Bland, Virginia, who will be named Young Alumna of the Year; Jeremy Hardy (’08) of Chesapeake, Virginia, who will receive the Primitivio Delgado Christian Service Award; Rev. Roger Roller (’81) of Forest, Virginia, who will be named Alumnus of the Year; and David Kessler (’85) of Atlanta, Georgia, and Omar “Juice” Reed (’10) of Houston, Texas, who will be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

DeHart earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bluefield College for the purpose of building a career in law enforcement. Little did she know she would exceed even her own expectations with a seat on the bench as a judge. DeHart attributes her career ascension to the training she received at BC. In addition to classroom instruction, she was required to complete an internship with the Bluefield (WV) Police Department, which not only exposed her to law enforcement firsthand, but also led to her first employment in the field.

She graduated from the Appalachian School of Law in 2006 while working for a law firm in Wytheville, Virginia. After passing the bar exam on her first attempt she became an assistant Commonwealth’s attorney for Wythe County from 2006 to 2008. Later, she worked for the Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, before being named the Commonwealth’s attorney for Bland County in 2011. Four years later, after much success in the courtroom, DeHart was elected to serve as judge for Virginia’s 27th Judicial District Court.

Hardy studied graphic communication at Bluefield College and is now the executive director of Vigilant Hope in Wilmington, North Carolina, whose mission is to equip, educate and empower the church to properly serve the homeless and impoverished communities. Founded in 2006, Vigilant Hope provides urban outreach, relief ministry, and educational programs, all for the purpose of not only serving the disadvantaged, but leading them to Christ.

One particular ministry that is new and thriving is the offering of free showers in a shower trailer four times a week to the homeless. Hardy says that if they can get them to take a shower, they might just restore their dignity and consequently convince them to complete job training and other educational programs that will eventually lead them out of homelessness.

Prior to his service with Vigilant Hope, Hardy was director of student activities at Bluefield College and director of communication at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bluefield, West Virginia. He also serves part-time on staff at Life Community Church as a graphic designer and is a member of the church’s Worship Team.

After graduating from Bluefield College and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Roller pastored Calvary Baptist Church in Floyd, Virginia, from 1984 to 1986 and Rustburg Baptist Church in Virginia from 1986 to 1993, before he and his wife, Ester, created the Roger Roller Evangelistic Association. Now in his 25th year as a full-time evangelist, Roller leads about 26 revivals each year, having conducted nearly 650 revivals altogether. He has preached overseas on mission trips in Hungary, Cuba, Panama, the San Blas Islands, India, Brazil, Honduras, South Africa, and Ghana.

His evangelistic association has also provided the funds to help build seven churches overseas and through partnerships with other ministries build training centers in Uganda and Honduras. In addition, the association employs and supports an associate evangelist in Honduras and two other evangelists in Ghana. Furthering its cause, the Roger Roller Evangelistic Association provides grants to college and seminary students going into full-time Christian service. In fact, 52 Bluefield College students have benefitted from the grants since 2003.

Kessler played both basketball and baseball at Bluefield College before becoming an assistant coach for Rams basketball in 1984-’85, the same year the team finished runner-up in the National Little College Athletic Association National Championship. After BC, he studied teacher education at Georgia State University before earning a master’s degree in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University-Irvine.

He returned to coaching as an associate head coach at South Gwinnett High School in Georgia, where he helped lead the team to the 2004 Georgia State Championship. He continued his high school coaching career at North Atlanta High School, Prince Avenue Christian School, Schley County High School, and finally Brandon Hall School, where he led that team to its first-ever state tournament appearance.

Today, Kessler is most recognized as the owner, founder and head coach of the Atlanta Show, a minor league professional basketball team in the North American Basketball League (NABL). In its first season ever, the Show completed a perfect 17-0 record and won the NABL championship. As a result, Kessler was named NABL Coach of the Year.

A native of nearby Tazewell, Virginia, Reed was a four-year starter on the Bluefield College men’s basketball team. He scored 1,760 points and grabbed 1,079 rebounds during his career as a Ram, averaging 13.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, including a double-double average of 16.2 points and 11.1 rebounds during his senior season. That same year, 2009-2010, he was named Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Player of the Year and AAC Defensive Player of the Year. He also earned a spot on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic (NAIA) Third Team All-America squad.

A proven winner, Reed led the Rams to 89 wins – 22.2 per season – during his four-year career, winning the AAC championship during his freshman, junior and senior seasons, including an unblemished 18-0 conference mark in 2008-2009. He began a professional basketball career in 2010 in the English Basketball League, before playing two years in the National Basketball Association Development League (NBA-DL) with the Austin Toros (affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs) and the Maine Red Claws (affiliate of the Boston Celtics). His pro career also includes two years of play in Japan, a year in Argentina and Panama, and a year in the Dominican Republic where he is currently a starter for Indios de San Francisco of the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto.

Reed returns to Bluefield and Tazewell every year from Texas to host basketball camps and other events in the community for the purpose of serving as a role model to local kids. In fact, he and his wife, Jelicia, are the founders of LIFE (Leadership In Full Effect), a non-profit organization which provides service and support to communities in Houston, Tazewell and Bluefield.

Supporters interested in attending the Alumni Awards Dinner should visit bluefield.edu/homecoming to register or for more information, or contact the BC Alumni Office by email at [email protected] or by phone at 276-326-4208.

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