Lubbock Christian University is a source of special memories for countless people, but the newly refurbished memorial garden is a place especially created to remember and celebrate precious memories of departed family and friends.
In 2012, Dr. Michael Hardin, Chair of Behavioral Sciences, worked with Charley Wasson, former CEO of Hospice of Lubbock, to create a sacred space on LCU campus where families could come together to honor the memory of their loved ones.
Hardin credits Wasson with being very instrumental in the establishment of the garden. “Charley…took it on as his personal project," Hardin said. "Charley is the one who raised the support for it. He is the one who was really responsible for raising the funds [for the original space.]"
In 2015, Maddie (Reaves ‘16) Hettick, a junior Psychology major at LCU, had a strong desire to revitalize the garden. Maddie was a member of the LCU Student Development Board, and she chose to focus her efforts on putting together a proposal to refurbish the garden. The Student Development Board exists to provide students the opportunity to identify a need they care about at LCU and work to fill it.
Raymond Richardson, Vice President of University Advancement and creator of the Student Development Board explained, “The purpose of the Student Development Board is to teach students the importance of philanthropy, budgets, business plans, marketing, and much more. But what seems to happen every year is that it goes beyond the spreadsheets to a heartwarming story.”
Maddie approached local artist and LCU alumnus, Cliff Wilke, about creating a mural to breathe some life into the memorial garden. Cliff created a story through three images titled "Offerings," "Rustling," and "Becoming." These images convey a sense of hope for life’s journey and peaceful assurance of the glory that lies ahead. The artist’s full statements and pictures of the mural are available here.
Maddie’s vision for the garden was coming together, but she still lacked funding for her project.
Through the Student Development Board, she was introduced to Dr. Johnny and Diane Qubty. Maddie recalled how she felt going to meet with them, “I was so scared; I was shaking and nervous, but I think I walked in with God on my side. The Qubtys’ hearts were just full of love. They were very gracious and they allowed me to use their money to go toward this generous blessing.”
The LCU memorial garden is now named “Astyn’s Garden” in honor of the Qubtys’ late daughter, Astyn.
In October 2017, Maddie received the inaugural LCU Heart of Service Award for her leadership and efforts in this project. When presenting Maddie with the award at the LCU President’s Gala, Raymond Richardson stated, “When a [student] project moves from a marketing idea to a ministry that honors and cherishes families and individuals, we believe it is worth recognizing.”
Maddie stated, “I was always tied to [this project]. [When I started out and applied] to be on the Student Development Board, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I did not understand the way God was going to use me; I was only getting a glimpse at the beginning of that journey into how amazing[ly] God’s power and blessings [would flow] through this project.”
From infants all the way up to adults, the names on the rocks in the garden represent loved ones of all ages whose memories and legacies are carried on by their families.