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Luncheon raises funds for Fraser Center
Operating goal is $166K
WEB 0413 Fraser 1
Sherry Somerville, daughter of the late Dr. Whit Fraser, leads members of her family in an a capella rendition of Broken Pieces on Wednesday during the annual Friends of Fraser luncheon. - photo by Danielle Hipps

Supporters of the Fraser Counseling Center and the Mary Lou Fraser Foundation for Families gathered Wednesday at the Liberty County YMCA gymnasium to celebrate the center’s mission.

As part of the annual Friends of Fraser Fundraising Luncheon, 202 guests heard emotional testimonials about the counseling center’s services and received some words of wisdom for their own lives.

“Our theme today is putting the pieces of the puzzle back together,” said Fraser Center Executive Director Dr. Alan Baroody. “As you think about this, I want you to picture your own life as being a puzzle — not a completed one, but one that is still in progress.”

He asked the audience members to close their eyes and recall the significant faces and events that have been life-shaping, whether negative or positive.

“The rest of the pieces of your life, of your puzzle, God is still putting together,” Baroody said.

As the Fraser Center’s services have been pieces to the lives of its clients, community support is part of the center’s own puzzle, Baroody said, as he explained that the center is requesting funds to meet its basic operation costs.

During Wednesday’s luncheon, 202 guests donated $9,515 in cash and checks and pledged another $36,545, according to Development Coordinator David Morris.

Combined with the $39,272 leadership gift from board members, staff and the Community Support Board, the foundation stands to raise $84,892 if all pledges are realized.

“For us, it’s a good reflection — this is about the standard of what we do — of course, we’re trying to improve, … always look for other means to supplement our budget,” Morris said.

Last year, 230 people attended the luncheon, which raised $46,000 toward the center’s annual goal of $166,000, according to Development Coordinator David Morris.

Other sources of revenue this year include a United Way grant and a $5,000 award from the Liberty County Drug Abuse and Treatment Education fund, which comes from a portion of court fees collected from offenders with drug- and alcohol-related offenses.

Morris said the group always is seeking new grant resources, but that many possible awards would not fit within the center’s current operating scheme.

Founded in 1986 as the dream of Dr. Whit Fraser, the center provides counseling, psychotherapy and educational services in mental health, substance abuse and marital and family areas.

The center accepts most private insurance companies and also offers services on a sliding fee scale for those who are uninsured.

During the luncheon, Victory Faith Fellowship member Donna Pearson offered her own testimonial about the center’s services.

Pearson recalled how she and her husband married in 1992, the same year she was diagnosed with cancer. She survived the cancer, and her husband became a certified police officer.

In 2005, her husband began working for Combat Support Associates in Kuwait, and on July 3, 2008, he suddenly died while in Kuwait.

“I could not face the reality that my life would forever change,” Pearson said. “I had an extreme struggle with grief, but a God-timed miracle in 2009 intervened into my life — I accepted an invitation from my mother to see what the Fraser Center was all about.”

While taking grief-support classes, Pearson realized that her grief was connected to unseen events in her past and was hindering her healing from her husband’s death.

“I had to look at what was revealed, and I have to allow God to begin healing all of my pains and scars …,” she said. “So I stand before you, and I can say, I know that it is God who heals the broken heart.”

Those interested in donating to the Fraser Center should contact its main office at 369-7777.

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