Lifelong Cleburne residents Tim and Elizabeth Whitlock live their lives inspired by I John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
The couple serve as honorary chairmen of the East Cleburne Community Center at the 27th Annual D.L. Barrett Awards Banquet on Saturday.
“They are so active in the community and are so giving so when choosing our honorary chairmen, it was a unanimous vote that they should receive this honor for all they do,” ECCC co-Chair Rebecca Roe said.
Tim and Elizabeth Whitlock met in high school while playing for the school’s tennis team. In 1979, they married and had three daughters, Jennifer, Mary and Melissa. But at the age of 29 Elizabeth Whitlock became ill.
“It started out with her hands not functioning right and then she started dragging her foot; something wasn’t right,” Tim Whitlock said.
He took his wife to see top neurologists from Dallas to the Mayo Clinic searching for a diagnosis. But every test they ran came back negative and she was getting worse daily.
The doctors finally concluded that a virus settled on the cerebellum of her brain that drastically affected her mobility. Fortunately, Elizabeth Whitlock didn’t feel pain and didn’t have to take any medication, and it didn’t affect her mind.
“She is sharp as a tack and she has come so far,” Tim Whitlock said
And even though it was a tough time trying to make life normal for their family, Tim Whitlock said it has only strengthened them as a couple and a family.
“Her strength and determination certainly encourages me and made a better husband, father and person,” he said.
While they had their family’s support they also had the community’s support during their struggle.
“The community has prayed for me over the years and it had a big impact in our lives,” Elizabeth Whitlock said.
She considers everything she’s gone through a ministry of encouragement.
“Elizabeth has been a big encouragement to others because people have really looked up to her and how she’s been a trooper through all of this ... she’s been a really good example for people on how to persevere through hard times,” Tim Whitlock said.
The Whitlocks are part of many organizations that give back to the community and giving back has always been part of their lives.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed and we’d like to give back and share our blessings and we would like to encourage others who have been blessed to do the same,” Elizabeth Whitlock said.
The couple has helped serve the Cleburne community in various capacities through the years. Elizabeth Whitlock is a member of the Texas Health Cleburne Black & White Gala Committee and various organizations. She owns her own business, Crown Moldings Solutions. Tim Whitlock is regional president of Pinnacle Bank and serves on several boards like The Father’s House Education Foundation and Spark Worldwide Ministries, but the one he is most proud of is the United Way of Johnson County board, which he has served for 25 years.
“We’re dealing with 20-something agencies and we get to see the direct impact of the folks that need that service,” he said. “We make sure they’re doing what they’re suppose to do with the money we entrust to them that the community has entrusted with us. We are encouraging individuals to reach their God-given potential.”
Elizabeth Whitlock said that she and her husband don’t put their name on something unless it is something they believe in. They have done many fundraisers throughout the years.
“People tell us fundraising should be our middle name,” she said.
The couple said they were surprised they were chosen to be honorary chairmen of ECCC. Elizabeth Whitlock said they mainly stay behind the scenes but they are humbled and honored to receive the recognition.
ECCC Board Chairman Dexter Baldwin was the one who recommended the Whitlocks for the honorary chairmen recognition. Baldwin attends the same church as the Whitlocks and has worked with Tim Whitlock throughout the years.
“They certainly are a couple that displays true grace,” Baldwin said, “They are so encouraging and inspirational. They give from the heart and are always looking for opportunities to give back to the community.”
When choosing honorary chairmen, Roe said the hope is that they will be an example to the rest of the community.
“Together they have their endeavors that can make us all be better,” Roe said.
The ECCC offers activities for all ages but most importantly, children.
“Our main purpose is to the youth and to let them have different experiences and help them see that they can accomplish many things,” she said.
Along with the Whitlocks many others are being honored for their outstanding community service at the banquet.
“It’s really about recognizing some local heros,” Tim Whitlock said. “There are some great blessings and accomplishments that have been done in our community, so celebrating that and recognizing those volunteers is what it’s all about.”
The couple encourages the community to attend and support the achievements of those in the Cleburne community.
Tickets are $30 and are available at 817-556-3716 or by visiting www.eccc1.com.
Sponsorship packages ranging from $300 to $3,000 are also available.
ECCC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and donations are tax deductible.