Hereford couple signs up for insurance program

Release Date: August 10, 2009    

HEREFORD – Herschel and Ruth Black of Hereford have become the first individuals to take part in a life-insurance program designed to benefit Wayland Baptist University, having written a $4 million policy, naming WBU as the beneficiary.

The program is designed for people who wish to make a major contribution to the school without liquidating all their assets to do so. A life insurance policy is written based on the individual’s net worth.

The idea made perfect sense to Herschel and Ruth Black, who have been regular contributors to Wayland over the last few years. The Blacks have endowed a scholarship in memory of their late son, Greg, and have regularly contributed to Wayland’s Kenya program. Herschel saw this as another opportunity to help someone else somewhere down the line.

Black, who supports the program “100 percent,” explained his viewpoint through a story he heard several years ago of a grocer who would lend a helping hand to those in need. The grocer knew a family in his small town who couldn’t always afford to buy groceries. When the young boys would come into the store, he would trade them a sack of produce or other goods for whatever the boys had in their pocket at the time. In particular one youngster offered him a blue marble. The grocer took it, looked it over then handed back to the boy saying he would prefer a red marble. 

Years later when the grocer passed away, the family’s boys were now grown men. At the funeral each of the men placed a red marble in his casket as they passed by.

“We all owe people some red marbles,” Black said. “I just hope we can scatter some along as we go.”

Black grew up in a poor family as one of eight children in Groom. He and his wife, Ruth, met in kindergarten and attended all 12 years of school together. They eventually married and moved to Hereford, where he drove a deliver truck for the lumber yard. The couple and their three children attended all the local football games. One year, Ruth sewed a stadium bag that soon become popular among the local fans. Herschel and Ruth began to market their products that were created in the couple’s garage. Ruth would sew and Herschel would sell and, in 1969, they began H&R Manufacturing. The business continued to grow and 40 years later is housed in a local shop with a handful of employees.

Now, after years of hard work, the Blacks are pleased to be in a situation where they may be able to help someone else who is struggling to get started in life. The policy is actually written on Herschel, a decision that will inevitably leave a lasting legacy.

“(Through this program) he can help touch someone’s life after he’s gone,” Ruth said.

For more information on the program, contact Wayland’s Director of Corporate Development Mike Melcher at 806-291-3431.