Changing One Life at a Time

Alumni Recognized for Contribution to Community
March 20, 2020

KEENE, TEX. – Dr. Eric Payne, Destiny Silva and Emily Laughlin have traveled different career paths, but all three are using a common base of knowledge, faith and service from Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) to impact the world, one life at a time. 

Dr. Eric Payne has participated in 20 medical mission trips to operate on children with cleft palates and cleft lips who are unable to find a surgeon for a surgical repair. He credits his professors at SWAU for encouraging him to serve others.

Within the past year, Payne (top, pictured centered) was named a member on the Board of Directors for two charity organizations, the Christus Healthcare Foundation serving the Houston community and the LEAP Global Missions in January. In addition, he was an honored speaker as an expert regarding nonsurgical ear molding procedures in Beijing and Chengdu, China. 

Destiny Silva, a marketing specialist at Dunaway Associates, was also recognized for her generous volunteer work. Last summer, she was named member of the year by the Fort Worth chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) after serving as the Education Director from 2018-2019.

As a marketing specialist, Silva (bottom, pictured centered) has made it her mission to educate others, including SWAU students, about the lesser-known opportunities for marketing professionals across the United States. As Education Director for SMPS Fort Worth, one of Silva’s goals was to plan educational events that inspire and empower SMPS members. But Silva didn’t stop there. A current member of SWAU’s Business Advisory Board, Silva partnered with the university to plan an educational lunch, during which she talked to business students about marketing overall and her niche more specifically. 

Emily Laughlin (top right) also has a heart for others. She was recently honored with the DAISY award, a nationwide accolade given to nurses who have truly cared for patients and shown leadership abilities. A staff nurse for Texas Health Huguley, Laughlin says she was just doing her job when she prayed and kept vigil by a dying man’s bedside for 10 hours.

Laughlin shares that she could tell the patient was faith-oriented, even though he could not express it. “He was very sweet and positive. I was with him for ten hours out of my twelve-hour shift. During the last hours he went into a coma. We know that patients in a coma can still hear, so I took the Bible near his bedside and opened it. I don’t remember what chapter of the Bible I turned to, I just knew that what I read was fitting to what was going on with this patient.” Laughlin said she was honored to receive the DAISY award, but her encounter with this particular patient is just one of many instances where she has prayed with her patients. It is moments like these where Laughlin is thankful for SWAU’s focus on faith and witnessing. 

Payne, Silva and Laughlin represent just a handful of SWAU alumni’s many accomplishments, but perhaps Laughlin’s words best sum up the purpose of education at SWAU: “I am touched by the circumstances of the different patients and people I work with. It’s not getting the award that’s the highlight; it’s being able to have those unforgettable experiences with people. The ability to help them, the opportunity to pray with them. It’s truly remarkable to be part of someone’s life like that.”

By Lindsey Gendke