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CSU alums inspire students at opening Chapel

by: University Relations

Ashleigh DockeryTwo alumni who are demonstrating faith in the workplace kicked off the first Chapel service of the academic year at Charleston Southern University on Wednesday. Another alumnus was remembered for his ultimate sacrifice.

President Jairy Hunter welcomed an overflow crowd of students, faculty, staff and coaches to the 2012-2013 year. During the service, the University paid tribute to Major Walter David Gray, a 2001 graduate, and an air liaison officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Gray was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan Aug. 8. As part of the tribute, a letter from classmate, Major Matthew Bryce Dibble ’02, was read. Dibble told of a young man with an infectious smile and leadership abilities beyond his years. “He genuinely loved and cared for everyone,” Dibble said. “He made the people around him better.”

Excerpts were read from the eulogy Gray’s wife, Heather ’02, delivered at his funeral.

Ashleigh Dockery and Dr. Kenneth Wilson challenged and encouraged students with their stories of working in the public sector.

Dockery ’10 is a crime scene investigator with the Charleston Police Department. She is currently enrolled in the University’s criminal justice master’s program. She said, “It wasn’t until sophomore year in a criminal justice elective class that I knew what career I wanted to pursue. The class was titled Techniques of Criminal Justice, and from that moment on I had a goal. I sat in the very back of the classroom, hardly ever spoke up because I was too shy, and an underclassman when the majority of students were upperclassmen. But I poured over the textbook, proudly displaying pictures of autopsies and blood spatter to my parents – who told me to put the book away, and that I wasn’t to show death scenes at dinner.”

Dockery’s passion for her calling and living out her faith has not dimmed in the day-to-day reality of crime scenes. “God has given me an opportunity to act out my faith when I am limited in what I may say,” said Dockery. “I have the ability to search for those who have hurt others and to be the voice for those who can no longer speak for themselves. My faith influences my job in how I interact with others on and off scene.”

Wilson, the director of high school education for Dorchester District Two, graduated from CSU in 1990. He told students about accepting Christ while he was a student after a Gospel Choir rehearsal one night. He and his wife, Carol Reid Wilson ’04, met in college and have been married 20 years.

Wilson said, “In my work, I am involved in decisions that affect thousands of children, their families and employees throughout the district. Many of these decisions require the weighing of pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages. These are the decisions that call for much prayer—prayer that you are making the right decision that will bring about a positive change in the lives of children and their families. This is where my faith comes into action as I both believe and trust in God that the decision made will benefit the children of the district.”

Charleston Southern's fall Chapel series continues on Wednesday, September 12 with special guest speaker Ginny Dent Brant, author of the book Finding True Freedom. Chapel services are open to faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of CSU. For more information on the Fall 2012 Chapel schedule, visitCharlestonSouthern.edu/chapel. Download encore audio podcasts atCSU's iTunes store

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