be_ixf;ym_202407 d_21; ct_100

Alumni Spotlight: Casey Wray

Graduation Year: 2001
Major: Psychology
Current Position: President CEO/Good Samaritan Boys Ranch
City and State: Springfield, MO

Tell us about your career and what you do now.
While I was in graduate school, I was given the unique opportunity to be hired provisionally as a therapist at the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch. That was back in 2002. I have been at Good Samaritan ever since. I was given multiple opportunities within the organization learn, grow and develop new skills. In 2004 I became the Director of Transitional Living (a program helping kids age out of the Foster Care system successfully). I was able to help re-establish this program and grow this program into one of the largest programs in the state of Missouri. In 2018, I became the Vice President of operations and subsequently became CEO in January of 2020. I have watched Good Samaritan grow and develop over the years. We work with vulnerable kids and families in Missouri. Predominantly kids in Foster Care. We provide a variety of programs and services. Residential Treatment for boys, Transitional Living (youth aging out of Foster Care) for boys and girls. Independent Living services (apartment program) for youth aging out of Foster Care. Then we also provide in-home services for young parents and school-based counseling for the Pleasant Hope School district. In the midst of this journey, God also opened up the door for our family to go into more traditional ministry. We became Children’s Pastors at our local church in 2010. God has allowed me to maintain this beautiful balance of ministry both inside the church and outside at Good Samaritan. In addition to my role at Good Samaritan, I am now currently the Middle School Pastor at Central Assembly here in Springfield and have been since 2021.

What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
My favorite memory would have to be the red-headed softball player that sat in front of me in chapel my Junior year. Lindsay DeKramer was her name. I eventually asked her out, and as of May this year, we have been married for 20 years. Best decision, best moment for sure!

Aside from that my favorite memory would have to be the nice warm Barrack radiators. The campus is so beautiful now, but there was a time where you get to your class a little early and cozy up next to one of those radiators and settle in for class. I’m pretty sure I can still smell those barracks if I closed my eyes.

How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
I started out on a path towards physical therapy, and we can see where that turned out or didn’t turn out! I was able to settle into psychology. I always knew that I wanted to help people, but I couldn’t put all the pieces together until I took my intro to psychology and intro to sociology classes.

As it turns out, I was called into the ministry during an evening service at Evangel. I still have the kleenex I used to wipe away the tears from that experience. I had no idea what “ministry” was going to look like, but I knew it wouldn’t be conventional. It turns out that God had a plan, and my time at EU helped that begin to come into focus.

How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
My undergrad and graduate experience at Evangel ensured I was educationally prepared for the next steps of what God had in store for me. My practicum and internships provided a practical education, to a world that I did not know existed. And with that foundation laid, God did the rest.

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
First off, I would say, always be moving toward better. The minute you are content is the minute you stop learning. Don’t pursue happiness. As Arthur Brooks would say, “Happiness is born out of finding enjoyment, satisfaction and purpose.”. Lastly, be a voice not an echo. God has not called you to remain silent but to glorify him in every aspect of your life.

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
Believe it or not, I AM in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel! At last count I believe our organization employs around 20 graduates. And have employed many therapists from EU over the years. What I look for in new hires comes from Patrick Lencioni. Humble, Hungry, Smart. Those are the three qualities I must have. If you only have one or two of those then you are in trouble. The best hires I have made are smart enough to do the work, hungry enough to learn to do the work better, and humble enough to realize there is always more to learn.