The Heart of Texas Foundation

Grove Speaks to Cherry Tree Republicans Club

May 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Cherry Tree Republicans Welcome Dan Patrick and “The Heart of Texas”

by Edith Gibson
Cherry Tree Republicans

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none”>The Cherry Tree Republicans’ monthly meeting for April was held Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at Wyndehaven Terrace on Cutten Road in Houston. After a brief business meeting, the attendees were privileged to view a screening of “The Heart of Texas – The Movie.” Executive Producer, Senator Dan Patrick, made a round-trip flight from Austin just to introduce the movie. A crowd of almost 200 attended this event that had advertised a special “mystery” guest to appear at the end of the movie to discuss what they had just seen. There had been a teaser that it could possibly be the Governor or Chuck Norris, both big fans of the movie. Since “The Heart of Texas” has been out for quite a while, it was interesting and exciting to find that when Senator Patrick asked for the hands of those who had NOT seen it, approximately 75% were about to see it for the first time.

For the next hour, the audience was intently and quietly focused on the 9×12-foot screen. After the movie, there was hardly a sound when Senator Patrick went to the podium to introduce the “mystery” guest. Although many people had guessed it would be Chuck Norris who lives up the road from Houston, when Grove Norwood (whose story was the subject of the movie) was introduced he was received with a standing ovation. There was tremendous excitement at who the “mystery” guest turned out to be. After cheers and applause, Grove was handed the microphone and stood in the center of the room (which for some events is the dance floor) and spoke of events surrounding the tragedy that was the devastating loss of his four-year old daughter, Joy. He shared this phenomenal and incredible story of friendship, loss, grief, faith and a forgiveness that most people have difficulty in understanding. “The Heart of Texas” is a true story that happened to a family in Fulshear, Texas – Grove Norwood’s family. Throughout his presentation, Grove’s voice was filled with conviction, with faith, with understanding and assurance, and with all the emotion and empathy you would expect from one who had lost a child

Not wanting to give away details for the few people who have not yet seen this movie, Grove spoke of how grief gave way to tender understanding and a forgiveness that is remarkable, and how this tragedy lead the path to what he is doing today. As this story spread and people sought him out to see if this really happened, he was asked if he would consider sharing it, and he said yes to Senator Patrick. He suggested that some in the audience might have personal stories of their own, and perhaps they were holding on to issues from which they need to forgive, let go and move on. You could tell by facial expressions and nods of heads of some that he was right. Grove encouraged everyone to embrace faith and hope and that would get them through anything.

Grove told of how he heard many times from people who had somehow and surprisingly seen “The Heart of Texas” while inmates in prisons and that the story encouraged and caused changes in their lives. The audience was told that today Grove Norwood has his own faith-based prison ministry and that, as President of The Heart of Texas Foundation, he takes this film to prisons around the state, and through the incredible story of the Norwood Family, lives are being changed. He takes the gospel to inmates and reminds them of God’s love for them and His forgiveness is waiting for even them if they will just ask for it.

As Cherry Tree Republicans are aware of the cost of food, gas, lodging, etc. in taking this message to the State prisons and Penitentiary in Texas, there was a desire to help in some way. Baskets were passed to the attendees for donations and they responded very generously and many heart-felt dollars were collected to help in this ministry. Grove and the three friends who accompanied him were surprised that this was done and amazed at the generosity. The Club is very proud of the way everyone stepped up.

Both Grove and Dan stayed for longer than I think they planned. Although a plane was waiting to take him back to Austin, Dan very graciously listened to concerns of some of his constituents and Grove listened intently to individuals who did have stories of their own, both posing for photo ops. He gave encouragement and passed his card for people to contact him personally. He even came up with a few volunteer recruits for The Heart of Texas Foundation!

I first met Grove Norwood several months before at another event at which he spoke, and as VP of Cherry Tree Republicans, I knew then that I wanted to have him share his story with us. I was extremely happy that he said yes to my request and very proud that Senator Dan Patrick was onboard to introduce him. For a few days before the meeting, it looked as if Dan wasn’t going to be able to come because of some last minute Senate committee meetings that were scheduled for the entire week. Words cannot express the gratitude for his efforts and going over and above to fly in and make it there just seconds before his introduction of Grove. Thank you, Grove and Dan, for making that night a memorable one for all of the attendees.

~ Edith Gibson
Vice-President, Cherry Tree Republicans

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