Sam and Linda Bradshaw: 2019 Service to Young Life Award

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​In John 13, Jesus declares, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Sam and Linda Bradshaw have lived lives marked by love and are known for their generosity and commitment to loving and serving those near and far so that they may hear the good news of Christ.

In 1979, Sam and Linda’s extensive service to Young Life began when their son, Kent, started attending Young Life as a sophomore in high school. The Bradshaws then joined the local committee in Houston. Since their first encounter with the mission, Sam and Linda have served in a variety of critical roles as adult guests, donors, local volunteers and banquet hosts. They have also had significant impact in Young Life International, the Young Life Foundation, MCYM (Young Life Military–Club Beyond) and Developing Global Leaders. 
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For the Bradshaws, their service and heart for Young Life is a family affair. When 15-year-old Sam met 14-year-old Linda, they had no idea what God had in store for their lives. They married in January of 1962 and now have two adult children, Kent and Carol, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Young Life has deep roots in the Bradshaw family as Kent’s wife, Betty, was Carol’s Young Life leader when she was a high school student. After retiring as the president of Triad Energy Corporation, Sam lives in Houston, Texas, where he and Linda still actively support the local Young Life ministry and advocate for urban Young Life where there is less indigenous giving. 

Field Senior Vice President James Rockwell said of the Bradshaws, “Sam and Linda are my role models. I want to be like them when I grow up. NOT only are they the most encouraging and passionate supporters of Young Life, but they are champions for our people. Many years ago when I was asked to move to Houston, it was my lunch with Sam that turned my heart toward Texas. He and Linda had such a deep understanding of calling and leadership. The love and support the Bradshaws showed me and my family marked me. I believe I’m a ‘bolder’ leader because of their influence. And their investment in me and our regional vision allowed us to reach thousands of kids, ALL kinds of kids, for Jesus Christ.”

While their passion for local ministry is contagious, Sam and Linda have also had far-reaching impact through several branches of Young Life ministry internationally. Around the time their youngest child, Carol, graduated from high school, the Bradshaws were invited to a Young Life Foundation retreat focused on financially supporting hard-to-fund ministries including Capernaum and Young Life in Africa and Russia. The stories that ministry leaders shared of international Young Life leaders made the Bradshaws aware that Young Life existed outside of Memorial High School and was impacting kids around the world. In 1988, Sam joined the Foundation Board of Directors and served in that role for many years. This heart for international ministry has led the Bradshaws to generously support several regions worldwide and to fund several Developing Global Leaders (DGL) students. DGL offers educational funds, life-skills mentoring and Young Life ministry training for the leaders of tomorrow in over 30 countries around the world. Since 2016, the Bradshaws have supported 15 different DGL students and they even had the opportunity to meet three of the students they sponsored!

The Bradshaws also have a heart for military families. Young Life’s Club Beyond provides ministry to middle school and high school students worldwide and is part of Military Community Youth Ministries (MCYM) which meets military families in the midst of constant transition. In 2005, the Bradshaws began their support of MCYM when they had served as adult guests at Trail West during the military week. They quickly fell in love with service members and their families. Since then, Sam and Linda have been champions for Military Family Camp at Trail West and have faithfully supported scholarships for these families. In 2009, this passion for Young Life’s military ministry led to Sam joining the MCYM Board of Directors. He has been serving on the board for 10 years and now leads the Development Committee as committee chair. Sam also serves as an Executive Campaign Committee member for the Young Life Military–Club Beyond Campaign.
 
From the Houston area to military families across the globe, Sam and Linda’s service has made a tremendous impact in the mission of Young Life. In the words of Executive Director of the Young Life Foundation Jeff Rudder, “Anyone who knows Sam and Linda knows they exude joy, love, commitment, faithfulness and generosity! I have personally been blessed by their desire to follow Christ and to serve Him through Young Life and the Young Life Foundation. The head count in heaven will be higher because of them.”  

The Office of Alumni and Friends is honored to present the 2019 Service to Young Life award to Sam and Linda who have faithfully served the mission of Young Life for over 40 years. They are a great example of loving others so well that the world knows they are His disciples. Sam and Linda, the Young Life Foundation, DGL, MCYM, local Houston ministries and many other ministries have all been transformed by your generosity and passion to serve. We are grateful for you!