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Chance meeting brings a flood of memories

July 24, 2012 | Valorie Coleman

Most days are pretty normal — the same tasks at work, the same lunch routine, the same route home.

From time-to-time, however, a day will bring a coincidence that opens a floodgate of memories.

Renee Marchand, campus visit coordinator for Evangel University and 1979 graduate, experienced this recently when a gentleman walked into the lobby of the administration building at Evangel.         

 “As I walked by the receptionist,” Marchand said, “an older gentleman holding an 8 x 10 photo was trying to identify someone in the picture. I started to walk on, but something stopped me. I asked if I could take a look. 

“I saw a girl in the photo standing on top of a horse and said, ‘Well, that’s me.’ He responded, ‘And that’s my horse!’”

Renee Marchand

Renee (Edmonds ’79 Marchand was captain of the Evangel cheerleading squad in 1978. Today she works as Evangel’s campus visit coordinator.

In 1978, Marchand was the captain of the cheerleading squad and spearheaded an effort to get a horse that would attend home football games. A “Crusader” would ride the horse during the game and run around the track when the team scored a touchdown (like the USC Trojans). 

Phil Leach (1979 EU grad) helped Marchand make contact with Jerome Kutz, the horse’s owner. Phil went to Kutz’s place and made friends with Silver, so that he would be comfortable with his new rider. Kutz then brought Silver to every home game that season.

The photo is of the first game that Silver attended. The 1978 football season was the only one that featured a Crusader and horse and was only the second season of Evangel football.

“Sadly, Silver is no longer with us,” Marchand said, “but Mr. Kutz comes by my office every now and then to chat and look over photos of the good ole days. Mr. Kutz’ only tie to Evangel is Silver, but he made a connection to Evangel that has stayed with him over the years.

“I’ve learned that you can leave Evangel,” Marchand said, “but it never leaves you.”

— Valorie Coleman, assistant director of public relations, Evangel University

PHOTO CAPTION: A chance meeting led to the discovery of this photo last winter. Renee (Edmonds) Marchand, Phil Leach and Silver were stars at Evangel’s home football games in 1978 (JFK Stadium).

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