ACU students, faculty and alumni provided physical and emotional support to a former professor after his home was destroyed by a tornado.
On Dec. 26, 12 tornadoes struck the Dallas area and damaged more than 1,500 buildings and homes, according to the National Weather Service. One of the destroyed homes was that of Dr. Michael Harbour, former director of operations at ACU CitySquare. He and his wife, Sandra, were celebrating Christmas in Tuscon, Arizona, with their children when the tornado destroyed their house in Garland.
Dr. Stephen Johnson, vice president of academic affairs for ACU in Dallas, is a close friend of the Harbours and checked on the house the day after the storm. Harbour said Johnson told him about the damage and offered to help find the Harbours a new place to stay.
“It’s fascinating to see the Christian family at work to take care of people,” Harbour said.
Johnson contacted Molly Clemans, site administrator for ACU at CitySquare, who arranged for the Harbours to stay at an apartment in Ashby Commons, the housing for students in the ACU Justice and Urban Studies (JUST) program.
Harbour said his church, Skillman Church of Christ, donated kitchen supplies, bedding, lamps and furniture to make them feel at home.
“We were just deeply moved, very touched,” Harbour said.
Clemans, who graduated from ACU in May, said she asked Harbour’s former students and those who did the first JUST program to write encouraging notes for the Harbours. She then printed the notes and arranged them on the coffee table in the apartment for the Harbours to read when they arrived.
“They’re so loved by the students,” Clemans said. “It’s the ACU community taking care of each other.”
Harbour was the director of operations for ACU at CitySquare and currently teaches online courses at Grand Canyon University. He earned his Masters of Divinity at ACU and is now enrolled in the ACU Dallas doctorate program.
Along with Johnson, Harbour developed the JUST program and facilitated the first team’s project-based learning. He also developed the student housing at Ashby Commons and recruited students for the program’s second year.
Michael Patterson, former executive administrative director of the Honors College, also found his home in Rowlett destroyed after the tornado. The ACU community supported him through a GoFundMe page, according to the ACU Today blog.