Cheryl Hood, Founder and President of Victory Flows
People often ask me if I have a child or family member with a disability. Nope. But what I have is a God- given passion and spiritual gift for serving those persons affected by disabilities and their families. It runs through every thread of my being, and I am most happy and at peace when I am in the company of this community.
This passion started over 30 years ago (am I really that old?) when I was in high school and had to find a service project for my Catholic catechism class. So I trotted on over to the State Hospital, located right across the street from Notre Dame in my hometown of South Bend, Indiana. Little did I know that a service project would become a lifetime of volunteering and joy for me. I started out teaching swimming to children who were back then called "mentally retarded". Thank God the monikers have changed so much and made children "special" today, as they are the most special, loving , incredible angels here on this earth.
I am the proud mother of two children, Ryan, who works for Fidelity Investments. His wife Kirsten is a teacher in Midlothian. My daughter Andi is employed by Baylor All Saints in Fort Worth as a NICU nurse. She has also inherited my passion for working with God's angels. My children are the loves of my life. As is my dog Lucy, a little piebald dachshund who is just silly and makes me smile.
For over 25 years I worked in the ad business.. selling print media, then marketing solutions at radio stations, and eventually opening my own full service ad agency in 2001 called C2 (Christ 2)Strategies. I was blessed by God with wonderful success in all these areas. As a single Mom for 20 years , God has always given me the provision I need, and He certainly supported me greatly to help raise the kids and provide for them as well. So in 2001 I attended a life skills workshop that radically changed my life. First, and most importantly, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at this event. In so doing, it reignited my passion to do more than just sell air on the radio..and thus I opened my ad agency with a focus on serving Christian clients and honoring God with integrity and values that reflected glorifying Him. Owning my business allowed me the opportunity to serve and volunteer in the areas of my passion.
I have been very involved with the Joni and Friends organization for the past eleven years, serving at the Family Retreat Camps as an STM and in leadership, as well as a being a former board member. About five years ago, I noticed at these camps that while the week was glorious and fun for the families, it was only once a year. For many families, this was their only outing for the year. Many would go back to homes of isolation, not be involved in church due to their child's disability, and the families would struggle with the challenges of daily life. I felt there had to be more.
And here we are today. In July 2011 I quit my job, sold my house, and got rid of my convertible and paid cash for a car. All to follow God's leading me into the formation of Victory Flows and hosting programs for families and individuals affected by disabilities.
My heart is full. I am blessed beyond measure to have incredible people serving alongside me in this endeavor. And I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to serve HIM.
Chris Schechner, Victory Flows Board Member
Hi! I’m Chris Schechner, a board member of Victory Flows. I am an art director, graphic designer and illustrator. I also happen to be disabled and use a wheelchair to get around. In 1971, when I was home in Michigan, I crashed into the bottom of a swimming pool during a dive and suffered a spinal cord injury. I feel that God has gifted me with an opportunity to use this situation by giving me a desire to encourage those with disabilities to achieve all they can, using the gifts that God has given them. We all have obstacles and it’s important to push ourselves to do all we can to reach beyond expectations within our limitations.
Besides my passion for encouraging people, I love to draw. Mostly, I draw cartoons, which seem to be highly populated with monsters; not scary, ugly monsters, but generally silly, lovable ones. When I’m not drawing, I’m usually reading or writing. Being creative is very important to me. Beyond that, I love spending time with people. Give me a call. I’m available for dinner most nights of the week.
Susan Black, Victory Flows Board Member
In a classic scene from the Forrest Gump movie, Sally Field tells her son “Life is like a box of chocolates, Forrest…you never know what you are gonna get!” Just when you least expect it, the unexplainable happens. Eighteen years ago, my son Bryan suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was thrown from the car during an automobile accident. Our handsome, kind-hearted, athletic son would never have the life he envisioned, and our family started on a journey that changed our lives. God has led us in directions that I would have never thought possible. My journey has included advocacy, fundraising, breast cancer, a graduate degree with gifted certification, and an instructional position at a university center to help students who struggle with academic and emotional challenges. I believe Victory Flows is a wonderful way to give individuals with disabilities hope. In my wallet, I carry two cards. The first says “Two are better than one…if one falls down, his friend can pick him up,” and the other reminds me that “God sends no stress…that chocolate and prayer can’t handle!”
David and Teresa Meeks, Victory Flows Board Members
Hello, my name is David. God gave me a second chance in 1986 in a truly remarkable way. I have been saved since 1986. In 2005, God called me into Disability Ministry and I have never looked back. God has a testimony in me that I believe every young person should hear. I am humbled by His grace and grateful for the new life He has given me. I count it an enormous joy to work with those living with disabilities and their families. I live in beautiful East Texas with my wife and have 4 children. Our children are all grown adults so now it is me, my wife and our dogs. My favorite verse is Romans 1:16
My name is Teresa. I am a professional nurse. I have been in Health Care since 1984. I have always been called to serve others. I have been saved since March of 2001. I love working in God’s service and have been called to Disability Ministry since 2005. I have extensive experience in health care, nursing, administration, education and family support. I like to think that God has brought me out of darkness to show me His pure joy reflected on earth in the presence of Christ Jesus. I am married to David Meeks and we have 4 grown children. My favorite verse is Titus 2:14 and my favorite book is James.