Roommates and Life-long Friends
This August, Jason Gunter and Kevin Rushing, SNU Class of 1995, moved their daughters into Bracken Hall where they both lived close to 30 years ago. Jason and Kevin have continued to be friends, and their daughters, Ryleigh and Julia, are new freshmen this fall.
When asked about his experience, Kevin said, “After graduating from high school, I decided to sit out a year. Jason’s dad was the pastor of Junction City Nazarene Church where my family attended. Jason and I became friends, and in the spring of 1991, Jason encouraged me to go to SNU for a visit. That visit changed my life. After visiting SNU, I felt like SNU was the place for me, and Jason and I decided to room together.” Kevin had no idea the valuable friendships he would continue to grow at SNU.
Kevin continued, “We lived in Snowbarger our freshman year but lived the other three [years] in Bracken. We had an awesome time as roommates–attending school events, eating out with friends, and going to sporting events. Our room was awesome – with a TV, Nintendo, video game chair, and even a life-size cut-out of our favorite movie star we kept all four years. I had a wonderful experience at SNU, and Jason was a huge part of that. Jason and I lived together for several more years after college before we both got married. My friendship with Jason has continued to develop over the last 30 years. Our lives have been intertwined through church, work, our wives, and our children. I am so grateful for that friendship and my time at SNU. It has been wonderful to watch Ryleigh and Julia’s friendship grow over the years. My prayer for them is that they will know the joy of lifelong friendship the way Jason and I have.”
It seems that Kevin’s prayer has been answered with his daughter, Ryleigh Rushing, telling her side of the story, “[It was] Circa 2014, Julia and I made a decision: We were going to be roommates. We made all the plans and lists of things we would have in our room. We were ready even then, [and now] eight years later. The room looks nothing like we thought, but the experience has been everything we hoped! Who else can say they’re getting to live with one of their best friends of eighteen years? We are so thankful!”
She went on to explain that “It’s so beautiful to us that we can follow in the footsteps of our dads. Their friendship has been so special, and they mean so much to us. We feel honored to be a part of this full-circle moment. We thank God each and every day for this opportunity to do life together in a way neither of us has experienced before. We are grateful for the laughs, for the late nights, and for all of the growth already taking place here at SNU. It once seemed like we’d never get here, to this wonderful place with all of these wonderful people. But now that we are, we’re loving every minute! We know that God has such big plans for us as individuals and for our friendship, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds.”
As community is intentionally fostered and a love for service is grown, friendships like these are common at SNU. It’s been a privilege to see this one play out for another generation. Our best to Ryleigh and Julia.