Dale Pride marks 25th anniversary on staff.
Facilities Manager Dale Pride is the second Wilshire staff member to celebrate a 25th work anniversary this summer. Dale will be recognized during worship on Sunday, July 25.
“ ‘Call Dale.’ That’s what you’ll hear staff say over and over around our building,” says Senior Pastor George Mason. “When the toilet runs, when the air conditioner fails, when the boiler breaks, when the ceiling leaks, when the door sticks, when the basement floods, when … when … when—call Dale. For a quarter century, Dale has answered the call when needed. What’s more, he’s made his own calls to prevent problems before they occur.”
Dale and his staff are responsible for all maintenance, custodial and security needs of the church, including the main building plus Resident Row — the four homes on Springside Lane that house Wilshire’s pastoral residents.
Dale says “It continues to be an honor to serve. It’s rare to be able to do something you love and something God has gifted you with as well.” Dale considers his work a ministry, and some might be surprised to learn that he holds a seminary degree as well as an engineering degree.
Dale grew up in Illinois and earned an engineering degree at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Upon graduating, he accepted a job at Texas Instruments in Dallas. During his time at TI, Dale attended Richardson Heights Baptist Church and volunteered in singles and preschool ministry there. “I was more and more unhappy with the engineering work I was doing,” Dale says, “and more and more thrilled at the work I was doing at the church.”
Dale attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and then spent a decade working with children. He worked at Buckner Children’s Home, taught elementary school at First Baptist Academy and served as interim children’s minister at First Baptist Church of Garland, where he and his family were members.
At First Baptist Garland, Dale came to know David Norris, who was business administrator at that church before coming to Wilshire in the same role. “David asked me if I would be interested in returning to engineering work and yet staying in church work. I said, ‘Well, of course, that would be very intriguing.’” One thing led to another, and David hired Dale to become Wilshire’s facilities manager in 1996.
Dale says his seminary training and ministry experience have been vital to his role at Wilshire: “I think it has given me a sensitivity towards service. And that’s what I’ve tried to instill in all of my employees. What I’ve always told them is they’re the face of the church. Someone comes into church, they’re usually one of the first faces they see. To be welcoming and helpful is a very important part of our ministry. And the fact that the facility is clean and smells fresh … if we don’t minister to the people coming into the church in that way, there’s a good chance they won’t come back.”
One major project completed during Dale’s time at Wilshire is the creation of the north parking lot, which replaced eight houses on Abrams Road. Even bigger was the $7.5 million remodel of Community Hall and creation of the current music wing, which involved extending the third floor to the south end of the building. Dale says that since he arrived, “we’ve been pretty much remodeling some portion of the church. It’s a very complex building because it was built in phases.”
The pandemic presented a unique opportunity for Dale and his staff to make building improvements without regular traffic in the building, but he says it was a challenging time. “It was very hard for me because I’m a people person. And not having the people here in the church was difficult for me. I like to walk through the preschool and see the kids. I like it when the seniors are here for their meetings and everything. That’s ministry. That’s what I was called to do. I was very happy when we started seeing folks coming back.”
The pandemic period also included February’s winter storm, which inflicted damage on the building. “I was here every day that week of the freeze,” Dale says. “We had three broken water pipes, three different floods. We’ve had a water pipe break every once in a while, but nothing on a scale of what we experienced this year. It was unique.”
George Mason says, “By his nature, and by the nature of his work, Dale operates behind the scenes, being seen mostly when things go awry. But we give thanks for his constancy in keeping the infrastructure of church clean, safe and efficient. There may not be glamor in the job, but there’s gratitude for Dale’s work.”
• You can drop Dale a note of congratulations at firstname.lastname@example.org.