OVU honors couple with Christian service award

VIENNA – Ohio Valley University’s Alumni Association recently honored Dick and Billie Jo Long with its Christian service award during the Alumni Awards luncheon as part of OVU’s Homecoming Weekend.

The Christian Service Award is given to recognize an individual or couple who has rendered outstanding service to the university or other constituencies of the university. The recipient does not have to be an alumnus of the university.

Dick Long worked for more than 38 years in public service, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was responsible for USDA audits worldwide. He met Billie Jo while she was serving as the dean of education for OVU. Billie Jo Long established the Teacher Education Program at OVU, which she developed and got approved by the state of West Virginia.

Billie Jo has been an educator for more than 42 years. She began her teaching career at age 19 and taught high school before going on to teach college students to become teachers. She has a doctorate in higher education.

Despite moving from the area after marriage, Dick and Billie Jo continued to support Christian education at OVU through the Dr. Billie Jo Long Endowed Education Scholarship Fund. This annual scholarship awards $1,000 to students pursuing an education degree at OVU.

Additionally, each semester the Longs give each student teacher a $50 stipend to help with their student teaching expenses. The Longs also support the Hinds Bible Scholarship, which awards $1,000 for a married student pursuing a major in biblical studies.

“Dick and Billie Jo are receiving the award for their passion for supporting education,” said Don Lallathin, director of alumni relations and planned giving for OVU. “They have truly put others first and have had a hand in producing great educators.”

Dick and Billie Jo have been married for 15 years. Between them, they have five adult children and 12 grandchildren.

“Upon our retirement, we dedicated ourselves to greater service to others. We did not retire from God,” Dick Long said. “We have sought to keep the JOY formula in our lives Jesus first, Others second, You last as we serve God no matter where we may be.”

The Longs live in Vienna.