Name: Tim H.
Home branch: Muskogee
Member since: 2016

When two teachers suffered the devastating loss of a stillborn son, worrying about funeral expenses was the last thing they needed.

With emotions still raw, Tim and Donda had to plan a funeral for a child. Their loss came on the heels of a series of financial challenges. Tim’s truck had broken down and needed a new engine. Both Tim and his wife had medical bills they needed to pay. The funeral expenses were a heavy burden added to all that.

“We needed to come up with probably $25,000 in a year,” Tim said.

Then Donda saw a Facebook post about TTCU’s Classroom Hero  program, which provides grants to educators experiencing financial hardship. The purpose of the grant is to help classroom teachers overcome hardship so they can remain in the classroom, and to encourage teachers to continue teaching in Oklahoma. The program is funded by the generous donations of TTCU members and the community, and distributed through the TTCU Cares Foundation.

Tim and Donda were awarded $5,000 to help them achieve financial stability after their hardships.

“(The grant) was a breath of fresh air,” Tim said. “It helped to lighten the load.”

Knowing they had received the grant gave them peace of mind when it came time to face the difficult task of choosing a headstone for their son’s grave.

“We didn’t have to worry about where the money was coming from,” Tim said.

Tim and Donda are both passionate about their teaching careers. Tim teaches eighth grade U.S. History at Fort Gibson Middle School, and Donda works as a reading specialist. She’s had a 23-year career in education, while Tim came to the profession later in life after a stint as a youth pastor. When he was looking for a career change, he discovered he was passionate about helping kids who struggled in school. His first job was in alternative education with Tulsa Public Schools, then he landed a job with Fort Gibson Middle School and moved to the Muskogee area.

“I appreciate that this grant is designed to help teachers stay in the classroom,” Tim said. “I know several great teachers who have left due to money issues in the past year or so.”

Please consider donating to the TTCU Cares Foundation for the Classroom Hero program to help teachers in need.

If you or an educator you know may be interested, please apply today.