A Tale of Two Giants by Ricky Chastain June 15, 2013
Gray Court, SC - Dr. Jerman Disasa and the CHAMPS Fathers Council with help from the Sunday School Classes of First Presbyterian and First Methodist Churches in Laurens were busy Saturday building a wheelchair ramp for an extraordinary and remarkable lady named Bren Blevins of Gray Court, SC.
Dr. Disasa and Bren Blevins met as a result of each other’s commitment to serve their community. Dr. Disasa has been the prominent face of the CHAMPS Program (Communities Helping, Assisting, and Motivating Promising Students) since it began in 1995 and has been a source of positive influence in the lives of many throughout Laurens County and beyond. Dr. Jerman Disasa grew up in rural Ethiopia, and obtained his elementary and secondary education from Presbyterian mission schools. He graduated from Sterling College in Kansas and received his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Disasa held faculty and administrative positions for eight years at the University of South Carolina before joining Presbyterian College faculty in 1994. Bren Blevins is also a graduate from Kansas as well as being a native of Kansas. Bren has been living in South Carolina for 12 years with four of those years being in Gray Court. Prior to that, she was a resident of Fountain Inn. Bren is a Guardian Ad Litem and loves to spend her time giving to the community. On June 11, 1990 at the age of 27, Bren Blevins’ life was changed forever when she was hit by a drunk driver in Kansas and suffered major injuries including the loss of her right arm and leg. Bren has had many obstacles to overcome but this lady has taken them all on and became an even stronger, wiser and better person in her own words. Bren has a testimony that Dr. Disasa saw immediately and knew the motivation she could provide to the CHAMPS Program. Bren went on to obtain her masters in rehab counseling after the accident and has helped and encouraged many people along her way. As I spoke to Bren I could sense the power she possesses. She is very independent and seeks to help and encourage others. Bren speaks of how everyone has the personal power to overcome and weather life’s storms and how we must all continue to keep pushing forward without dwelling in our past.
Dr. Jerman Disasa has his own stories of overcoming life’s challenges and to spend a few minutes with both of these giants in our community today was truly an encouragement and a blessing. Thank you both for who you are and what you represent.