I Am Wilshire – Sara Deats.
Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas.
Present City: McKinney.
Education: Bachelor’s from Ouachita Baptist University; Master’s from Wright State University.
Profession: Recreation Coordinator.
Tell us about your family.
I have three brothers. Brian Burton lives in Little Rock and is CEO of the Arkansas Food Bank. Mark and his husband, John, are retired in Dallas. Allen and his wife, Paula, live in Ann Arbor, where he is a professor at the University of Michigan.
How about your work or volunteer life?
I have been a full-time recreation coordinator for Plano Parks and Recreation for nearly 29 years. For 27 of those years I’ve served older adults, which I absolutely love. One Sunday a month, I volunteer at a church in Sachse, serving children and teens with special needs and their families.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Spending time in my backyard; taking pictures of nature; collecting books to read; going to hear musicians like the Indigo Girls, Shake Russell, Shane & Shane and Mary Gauthier; and loving on my two dogs.
What are your favorite places to travel?
Oklahoma to visit my best friend of 48 years, and Colorado.
What brought you to Wilshire?
My brother Brian was ordained at Wilshire in 1994 and served on staff. When our mother moved to Dallas in 2016, she wanted to attend Wilshire, so I began taking her. When I heard about the Inclusion and Diversity Study Group and the opportunity to vote on a single class of membership, which would allow for all members to be treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, I was delighted and joined immediately.
Tell us about your faith journey:
I grew up in church but didn’t like who I thought God was and quit going when I was about 18. At age 24 I had a terrible car accident and sustained, among other things, a severe traumatic brain injury. God used that experience to show himself to me as my Savior in every sense of the word, and I began loving him. When my husband died suddenly in August 2013, God showed himself as my Partner and Provider. That November, I took my last drink of alcohol, and I came to know him as my Strength. Whatever challenges I face now, I lean into what God says in Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (MEV).
Where are you engaged at Wilshire?
I’m a member of Cord of Three Class, which I love. I’m on the Belong Team and participate in Women of Wilshire activities whenever possible.
*If you are interested in being featured in an upcoming I Am Wilshire feature, contact Carolyn Murray(firstname.lastname@example.org)