[April 21, 2008] STEVE VISTAUNET, Assistant to the President for Communication, North Pacific Union Conference
Two Seventh-day Adventist leaders -- Jere Patzer, North Pacific Union Conference president and John McVay, Walla Walla University president -- received an unexpected welcome from the Washington State Senate during a recent visit to the state’s capital, Olympia.
After attending a lunch for private educators with Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, Patzer decided to pay a quick visit to Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen, with whom he became friends some years ago at a Walla Walla College Commencement ceremony. Upon learning Owen was out of his office presiding over a Senate session, Patzer intended to simply leave a business card with a quick greeting. However, when Owen’s personal aide found out they both represented Walla Walla University and the Adventist Church, she disclosed she was a graduate of Pacific Union College. Exclaiming that Owen would want to see them, she invited them to accompany her into the wings of the Senate chamber.
When Owen was informed that his friend was in the Capitol, he insisted that both Patzer and McVay sit near him at the rostrum and observe the Senate proceedings for a few minutes. At one point, between regular business, Owen formally introduced Patzer and McVay and led the full room of senators in an ovation.
As they were leaving the senate chamber several senators came out to individually greet the men. Several expressed specific thanks for the relief efforts Adventist churches and members provided during recent floods in their districts.
“It’s clear to me that the Adventist Church is making a positive impact in communities around Washington and the Northwest,” Patzer said. “We are known as a group that is committed to excellence in service and education. The recognition John and I felt there at the Capitol is simply a testament to how the Lord blesses when we reach out to be a positive part of our communities.”