by Justin Smith
There are certain people that you meet in your lifetime that you instantly fall in love with. You’re not sure why, but they have a huge impact on your life. That’s how it was when I met Don and Linda Sue Gover my Freshman year at FHU in 2008. A tradition that was in tact before I got to Freed-Hardeman, students take a trip to the Gover’s house every Thursday around 4:00 p.m. Mr. Don and Ms. Linda live about 10 minutes from FHU’s campus in the farmland surrounding Chester County. Students drive out to share some of Ms. Linda’s cookies and sweet tea and to spend a while talking with Mr. Don. Below is Mrs. Gover’s words about how this great tradition began.
“It all began 15 years ago after we moved here from Texas. Mr. Don had transferred to Jackson with Owens Corning. We bought this land and then built this house to fit the needs of our son, Brandon, who had cerebral palsy. He wanted to go to FHU, but his health was failing and he wasn’t able to. Instead FHU came to him. We had met David Powell and I asked him if there were any community projects at FHU. He said, “Let me think about it and I’ll give you a call.” Well, sometime you get those calls and other times you don’t, but the very next morning he called. David said, ‘There’s a social club called PKA and they love doing community service, so how would Thursday afternoon around 4:00 work?’ ‘Great!’ I said. Brandon had been so lonely for young people after leaving friends and family behind in Texas. I didn’t tell him that social clubs were co-ed, so you can imagine how happy he was to see young men and women arrive at the house. Young men to talk cars, music, etc. with and young women to flirt with! There are so many stories to tell. One thing Brandon said has really come true. He said, ‘Momma, if you bake your cookies and make sweet tea, they will keep coming.’ Even though Brandon has passed on, PKA still comes and even brings their friends from other clubs. They come to see what a Gover is. Haha. We love it and feel so blessed to have a place that is God’s and ours to share.”
Even though the Govers have no official tie to FHU, they were a huge part of my FHU experience. Most Thursday afternoons for 4 years of my life were spent at their house throwing the football, fishing, eating fresh cookies, having a devotional, taking pictures, doing yard work, talking, and sipping on sweet tea. If you’re ever on FHU’s campus on a Thursday around 4:00 p.m., find a ride out to the Govers and meet some of the sweetest people on this earth.