It was an honor to host a first-time visitor to Methodist Children’s Home today who actually shares in the heritage of MCH. Pat Garrison of San Antonio is the great-grandson of W.F. Barnett, who served as administrator of MCH from 1919-1933. Trey Oakley, MCH president, and Lyle Mason, vice president for development, gave Garrison a tour of the Waco campus and shared photos, letters and publications related to “Dad” Barnett, as he was affectionately known. Barnett led MCH through the challenges of the Great Depression.
Garrison expressed gratitude for the opportunity to hear stories and see evidence of his great-grandfather’s legacy.
“I’ve heard stories about my great-grandfather’s legacy and work with Methodist Children’s Home all my life, but seeing the actual place where he cared for hundreds of children makes it all the more real,” Garrison said. Oakley, who was named president 100 years after Barnett started his tenure, said Barnett’s reputation has inspired him as well.
“Dad Barnett led this ministry through a challenging time, and I have thought about that as we lead MCH through the challenges of a pandemic,” Oakley said, listing a number of significant achievements and innovations Barnett instituted such as vocational programs, a school for the children, a band program, the creation of Sunshine magazine, and strengthened ties with the Methodist Church. “The stories of Dad Barnett were that he never let the job cause him to lose touch with the children in his care. That has always inspired me.”