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June 2022

Anchorage officer reflects on career impacting community 

Retiring at 50 was not exactly on Sally Jones’ overall life plan. But with aging parents separated across the country and service milestones behind them, she and husband Grant decided it was time to pull the trigger.

Sally ended her service to the Anchorage Police Department in late April after serving 20 years.

Officer Sally Jones
Anchorage Officer Sally Jones

Grant retired from a career in the Air Force a few years ago and has family in Boise, Idaho. Sally’s family is back in deep south Texas, specifically Weslaco. For now, the family plans to split time between their Alaska home – enjoying the milder summers there – and South Texas, where they will enjoy a milder winter. Visits to family around the country are part of the immediate plan, though Sally says she might end up working again in the future.

Both of the Joneses are graduates of the Wayland Anchorage campus, with Sally earning her bachelor’s degree in 2008 and Grant earning his in 2012. Then in 2021, the Anchorage campus leadership chose Sally as their Distinguished Alumni Award winner for the year, honoring her at a graduation ceremony.

Reflecting on challenges

Fresh into retirement, Sally reflected on a life journey that was full of both adventure and rewards and exceeded expectations for her family background.

“I was raised by Hispanic parents and was a migrant worker growing up,” she recalls. “I knew this wasn't the life for me and thought there had to be something else besides the cycle of being a migrant worker, getting married and having kids.”

Sally joined the junior ROTC while in high school and got to meet with recruiters. She took the ASVAB test at age 17 and made her plan to join the military. Two days after graduation, she joined the Air Force and had a quick transition into basic training and her next employment with the military. While she initially chose the military police option, she was reassigned to resource management – a job she lovingly called “babysitting pilots” – since she did not have a driver’s license and could not drive.

Looking back, she realized God had his hand in that plan, since she soon realized how tough the security forces life could be with regular deployments and such. Her next duty assignment moved Sally to South Carolina, where she met Grant on the base dormitory.

Sally opted to leave the Air Force after five years of service when a pending remote deployment to Korea came just three months after their first child, a daughter, was born. Instead, Grant was sent to Korea and Sally spent that year with a newborn in Texas with family. His next orders were for Alaska, and the family soon reunited in Anchorage.

A new adventure

After Grant got settled into his new role, Sally was considering work options. An Anchorage Police recruiter gave Grant his card and he passed it along to his wife, who thought it was something she could do. When he chuckled in reply, she took that as a challenge.

“I went through all the steps and got hired on with APD in 2001. I did five months of field training,

Officer Jones and Star Wars crew
A costumed crew joins Officer Jones.

then I became a solo officer,” Sally remembered. “After five years, then you can move into detective or training or whatever else you might want to do. There was a new unit starting that became the Community Action Policing team, so I applied for that and have done that for 15 years.”

As Sally explains, the unit was developed after city leaders noticed the need to deal with issues that were not necessarily criminal but needed some authority to manage. Officers tend to work more proactively and build relationships in communities that need their help.

“We started in Fairview, where there was a big problem with alcoholic establishments in the small community and drunks were taking over the place. They also wanted us to work with the homeless population and alcoholics,” she said. “So the Community Service Patrol would travel by van and pick people up and take them to places where they could be safe and warm until they sobered up. We would work with the alcohol establishments about enforcing IDs.”

Remembering the impact

Even after all the years of work, homelessness remains an issue in Anchorage, so the Community Action Policing team continues to focus on helping those individuals connect to the resources that can hopefully move them off the streets.

“Homelessness is not a criminal offense but it's the issues behind it that can be: panhandling, being drunk in public and things like sleeping in public. Over 15 years, we got the education we needed to find the resources to help people,” Sally said. “It's a frustrating and complicated issue. When you add the mental illness and alcoholism aspects, it makes it even harder.”

Still, Sally said she knows she was able to make a difference in her 20 years as a police officer. Meeting mothers who want her to encourage their children to make better choices gives her hope that she can speak life into the next generation. Hearing others thank her for intervening in their lives can be moving as well.

“When you’re in the grocery store and someone comes up to you and tells you they were going to slit their wrist and I helped them and saved their lives, those times really are rewarding,” she said. “Regarding my homeless community, they say they love me because I treat them with respect. If someone that doesn’t know me starts hassling me, they will stand up for me and tell them to be nice.”

For her, that kindness is both essential and a big part of her success with helping people. It’s really a mindset, Sally explains.

“Nobody grows up to say ‘I want to be homeless’ or ‘I want to be a prostitute.’ I tell (new officers)

Officer Jones and lizard
Officer Jones makes a scaly friend.

to treat these people with respect and it'll show in your career,” she says. “It's nice to hear from former clients and know they are doing good. When you stop seeing them, you wonder what happened to them... did they go back to their village? Get housing? or Pass away?”

Learning and growing

Sally said she decided to work on her bachelor’s degree since there was a pay increase incentive. She also knew it would come in handy if she was to advance within the police department. She chose Wayland based on recommendations from others.

“Everyone told me to go to Wayland since they would work with our schedule, since like the military officers do shift work. As a bonus, it’s a Christian college, so we decided to go,” she noted. “I hate math, but the first class I took was math with Reggie Chambers. He was the sweetest and everyone after that was so great. They were so friendly and caring, and we weren't just a number.

“I went first, took a class here and there and finally finished. Then Grant was getting close to retirement and decided to go back as well for his degree,” she added.

Already retired from the military, Grant began serving six years ago as associate pastor at Baxter Road Bible Church where the couple had been attending for almost a decade. He plans to continue that work around their travel to see both family and to explore the country.

“Our son is in Maryland with the Air Force, and we want to be able to travel and see things along the way,” Sally says. “I have seen people say they are going to do things after they retire, but then they pass away or their bodies won’t let them do it. So it’s time to spend time with family and do things we want while they are all still alive.”


Helping small businesses is passion for three-time alumnus

In Dane Daniel’s mind, his current work is a perfect blending of his formal education, his “hard knocks” education and his desire to really impact the business community. While it was a journey to get there, his COVID-launched partnership, Infinity Capital Solutions, is providing opportunities for small businesses around the country to do what they do best. And Dane gets to do what he does best.

A native of Lubbock who still calls the Hub City home, Dane first attended Wayland in the 1990s, earning his bachelor’s degree in business in 1997 from the Plainview campus. At that point, his faculty mentor, then-Business Chair Dr. Ben Akande, had helped him arrange for a job in Boston

Dane Daniel and partner
Dane, right, and business partner Marty Faubus

working in finance. When his sister unexpectedly died a month before graduation, that plan changed and he took Akande’s advice to pursue an MBA.  

Dane worked in Wayland’s external programs office as an evaluator and sped his way through the degree, taking extra courses along the way and completing the MBA in 1998. He was ready to get into the workforce, but he didn’t really have an idea of what that might look like. He ended up working in commodities and insurance for several years.

Hanging out a new shingle

He enjoyed the solo venture and being in business for himself, but after four and a half years, he had the opportunity to go into business with his father, Delton, who worked for a security business and had the chance to purchase it. Dane took the leap, sold his agency and used the money as seed capital for partnership with his dad, Western Star Security, offering alarms, cameras, security patrol and like services.

“That was the first time I had been an owner with ownership responsibilities. We had employees and 1,500 clients, and there was a lot more it than when I ran the insurance company. There, I had just me and an office; I wasn’t married and wasn’t responsible for anyone but me,” he reflected. “Then I move into this, and it’s a whole new world. I learned more from the things I screwed up than what I did right.”

A strong believer who teaches a Sunday school class for men at Lubbock’s Southcrest Baptist Church, Dane said he drew heavily on the business education he’d gleaned at Wayland during those first years of ownership, but there were some curveballs for which no one can prepare.

“In my schooling, I learned an enormous amount from a 30,000-foot view, but no one can teach you the down-in-the-weeds, because it’s always different,” he said, noting that the biggest lessons were about money itself. “While we never worship money, we do work for that and we have to have it. It is the lifeblood of a business because it allows you to do everything else you do.  The most important piece of any business is its employees, but you can’t support them without income and proper cash flow.”

Hitting the road

Nine years after they began the partnership, the Daniels had the chance to sell Western Star and they did. Now looking to his next adventure, Dane decided to work for someone else for a while. He took a job with the U.S. Department of Commerce, working with businesses around a wide territory that included the top half of Texas, all of New Mexico and Oklahoma, and half of Colorado and Arizona. The job was enjoyable but involved a lot of travel and more stress and time away from

Daniel with customer
Dane visits with a client by phone.

home, which now included a wife, Kerry, a Doctor of Pharmacy, and two children.

When the U.S. Census began ramping up for their 2020 count of the nation, Dane’s work switched over to managing much of the same territory for that effort, since the Department of Commerce oversees the Census. That was in 2019, and he suddenly found himself managing 165,000 employees, most being “boots on the ground” workers managed by area directors under Dane’s leadership. It would prove to be challenging at best.

“That is a real mess, then you throw COVID in there in 2020, and it was a dumpster fire. You couldn’t go to work or do anything. Everything was locked down,” he recalls of those years. “It was pretty fascinating, though, especially working with the native tribes in New Mexico and Oklahoma.”

Dane recalls meeting one of the tribal elders in New Mexico, a diminutive woman standing around 4’10” and well into her 80s, who opened the doors for him to accomplish the census goals in the state. Just by trusting him and calling other tribal leaders in the state, she smoothed the way and work could continue.

By the time the COVID pandemic was in full swing, Dane was grounded in Lubbock and not able to get much accomplished with work-from-home orders. Used to a busy work pace, he was going crazy and ready to jump ship.

Earning a new degree

Around this same time, Dane was wrapping up a doctoral degree with Wayland that started on a whim after seeing a promotional poster at an alumni event at Wayland’s Lubbock campus.

“I noticed this poster about the Doctor of Management program and thought, ‘Huh, that’s new.’ I was talking to Dr. Bobby Hall (Wayland’s president and one of Dane’s former professors in business) and he said, ‘That would be a good thing for you to look into’ and he offered me a

Dane and WBU degrees
Dane is proud of his three WBU diplomas.

recommendation,” Dane recalls. “I’ve been friends with him for a long time, and what he’s done and his career growth has been impressive to watch. So I jumped into it.”

Dane’s class was the fourth DMgmt cohort, and out of the 43 that started, only he and one classmate graduated on time. Cooped up at home during COVID was a blessing in disguise as it allowed him to work on his dissertation as he was wrapping up the degree. Another blessing was having his faculty mentor, Dr. Samantha Murray, living within five miles of his home and accessible for help.

While COVID thwarted the in-person graduation ceremony for the group along with other WBU graduates that year, Dane and his classmates gathered via Zoom for a graduation ceremony of their own, and he says he proudly donned the full regalia – including that “funny looking hat” – for the event.

He credits Murray and Dr. Janet Jones, who coordinates the DMgmt program, for their knowledge, expertise, experience and giving spirits. He noted both were so kind and helpful through his doctoral program and afterward, and he truly counts Murray as a friend, a fact he finds unique and rewarding beyond the typical academic experience.

He also was grateful for his wife Kerry, whom he called a great “support system both professionally and academically. She pushed me in a way that only a spouse can, and she proof-read papers that would be cruel and unusual punishment for most!”

A new adventure begins

It was a conversation with a long-time friend, Marty Faubus – whose work in oil and gas finance had gone south when COVID had Texas crude oil in the negative for the first time ever – that got Dane thinking about partnering in business again. But he was hesitant, not wanting to do anything that might ruin the friendship should the business not work out. After much discussion and prayer, the pair formed Infinity officially on June 1, 2020. Dane worked out his earned vacation with the government for eight weeks while the fledgling business began to grow.

“In a nutshell, we locate and procure capital for small businesses. That can be in form of financing equipment, investment property or commercial property or just working capital,” Dane explained of his business. “We don’t like to do transactions; we like to build relationships. We take a lot more time than most people in the industry with our clients because we don’t do just one deal; we like to look at the deal holistically and how it’s going to impact their whole business.

“We’re unique in that we’ve sat on both sides of the desk; when we started Western Star I had a phenomenal business plan built and everything you could think of was in there. I got it halfway right. The amount of money I thought we needed was 50 percent off. No one has enough money.”

Dane, Marty and their small cache of employees work with 400-plus lenders to match financing for small businesses. While they call Lubbock home and office in the Pyramid Plaza off South Loop 289 and Indiana, Infinity can work with clients in any market thanks to the finance technology world of 2022. And their model is unique: Infinity doesn’t charge clients for their services since the lenders pay them to bring in accounts. And they take time to learn the story behind the request and to do their research to make sure all parties win.

Operating differently

“They say cash is king, but it’s not: cash flow is king. Money under your mattress doesn’t do any good at all. So we preach to our customers not to spend their money but to rent ours. We are very competitive with bank rates but we do it very differently,” Dane explains. “We go find options for our clients and present them, and they pick. I can give them my opinion but they can pick. That goesInfinity art back to the research we’ve done on their business.

“We go deeper than (just a transaction) because it’s the right thing to do, and I’m a nerd and enjoy the research part,” he adds with a laugh. “Plus, they’ll come back to me; I don’t have to go search for a new client, and that’s where the relationship comes into play.”

Dane credits the doctoral degree with helping him in multiple ways. One is the knowledge of how to research well, which he uses regularly on the job at Infinity. The other is the credibility it lends him in the eyes of new clients that know he’s done his homework – quite literally – when it comes to management. And all of that put together means a rewarding career where he gets to see people live out their dream in business, provide for their families and provide a valuable service.

“I am very, very proud of where I went to school because of what they stand for. Even with folks who have never heard of Wayland, it gives me an opportunity to stealth witness where I might not have the chance otherwise,” notes Dane. And his faith comes to play often in business as he and Marty pray over most deals for clients and let doing the right thing be their guide.

“We don’t do business with people that we don’t have a good feeling about their integrity. We don’t want to associate with those who don’t represent our values,” he says. “Sometimes it’s just not a deal; people may have no credit and no cash but a great idea. They’re just not ready yet, but we can help them get ready.”


Devotional: Dealing with changed plans

What happens when our plans change? Inevitably, from time to time, our plans will change. Sometimes that change is from God, sometimes from discernment, and sometimes from the evil forces that seek to distract and destroy us. For this reason, I believe we must be tuned to the Holy Detour signsSpirit. Even though we may create elaborate plans with goals and objectives, it does not mean that those plans are God’s will, even when we prayerfully consider them. The Bile helps us know that man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9). Oh, no, please understand me. Planning is necessary. But whenever our plans dismiss God’s will, we are in for a rough ride.

Take the apostle Paul and his plans to plant churches in Asia. Paul was reprimanded three times by the Trinity not to go to Asia but to Macedonia (Acts 16). A safe assumption here would be that Paul was a prayerful person and that his church-planting mission to Asia would be God’s will. However, we cannot allow our perceptions of mission and ministry to get in the way of God’s plans. Paul had to be told three times, “No. You will not go to Asia.” Yet, it wasn’t until Paul received the dream that God revealed his plans changed.

God’s people must fulfill God’s mission, listen to what God has commanded, and not become distracted by the world or the enemy. Thankfully, Jesus has commanded us what to do (Matt. 28:18-20). Furthermore, we are “not ignorant” of Satan’s schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). Let us look at culture through the proverbial lens of Christ. When our plans are hindered, we should automatically retreat into prayer and wait. As Daniel continued to pray, even when his prayer was hindered for weeks (Daniel 10), he likewise assumed the posture of prayer and sought God in battle; VICTORY is YOURS!

Our Father in Heaven, I praise your name forever and ever. I pray that Your will be done in our lives and this world. I pray for Your plan to prosper here on earth as it is in heaven. Please help us to know we are not in control, even though that’s often hard for us to admit and accept. Help us release our plans and tomorrow into Your hands, O Lord, fully trusting You. Please help us to desire to step into whatever path You lay before us, even when it looks different from what we thought we wanted. Help us know You have bigger plans for us, so we submit our life to Your will. We will trust and obey You with an excited and ecstatic heart. Father, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Christ’s name, Amen.

May God keep you in His powerful grip (John 10:29).

Rev. Undra Parker is a 2010 graduate of Wayland in Anchorage and earned his Master of Christian Ministry there in 2012. He is senior pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Anchorage and is a veteran of the US Air Force. Wife Mildred, who serves at the church as well, earned her Wayland degree in 2014. 


From the History Files

This month's history recap continues a series of anecdotal memories shared in The Wayland Century, a coffeetable book published during our Centennial celebration in 2009.

"By the time I enrolled in Wayland, they had very few paying students. About 12 of us were cash students, and we were always doing something funny. We would invite others to join us and they would say, 'I would like to, but I don't pay tuition and would get kicked out of school if caught. They can't afford to kick you out of school.'

"Everyone helped another student. Like the time when one ministerial student told another witty female student he needed a ride downtown in the worst way to get something important done. The

Students fun
Dorm fun, 1940s WBU

young lady replied, 'I'll take you,' pointing to a car for him to get in. She drove him to town, returning to the Wayland horseshoe drive parking lot. She hurriedly got out of the car first and said, 'Preach, thanks for the ride.' and vanished immediately. It turned out it was not her car; she just borrowed it for the downtown joy ride.

"An increase in spending money, all types of entertainment and TV changed things so that students do not have to create much of their own entertainment. I know many of them do not begin to read the number of books that we read then. The black list of books was a must for us to get hold of and read by our age group. We wanted to be informed and formed our own opinion, much to the shock of our elders.

"You might call us a group of change. And of course, I am sure that all of us that made the missionary's private prayer list have been blessed many times by her desire to do good for us."

Submitted by James Pinson, student in the 1940s