Congratulations to the Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Irvin Sr., pastor emeritus of Old Storm Branch Baptist Church, upon his retirement. Students from the former Jefferson High School of Bath claim Irvin as our pastor, even though some of us are members of another church. We formed a special bond with Irvin when he was our teacher, student council adviser, counselor or assistant principal at Jefferson High.

Irvin helped to nurture our development when we were students and has continued to mentor us in adulthood. He knew of the discipline that we still needed after high school, so as we matured, he kindheartedly counseled us toward Christ-like living.

He knew of the potential within us, so he suggested that we take responsibility for various tasks. This made way for many opportunities for advancement. He knew what could happen if we set goals and worked toward them, so he held us accountable for our actions through the years. He knew that his students needed more than a few years of school time instruction. He knew that we needed a lifetime of this. He was always nearby to stand in the gap.

I believe Irvin’s actions relating to his students were goal-directed. I believe that he always aimed for us to carry on the deeds of service to humankind that he modeled for us. He often asked his students to stand up. Now, we must stand up with him in service to our fellow man. Irvin’s goal for us must be reached.

Jefferson High School alumni love and give appreciation and thanksgiving to and for Irvin for the service given to us so that we might serve others in return.

Marsha F. Harris