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The power of positive confrontation

At 79 years old, Dr. Fred Tulloch runs three miles each day and completes 210 push-ups. And this could perhaps be the least remarkable thing about this pastor, counselor, spiritual leader, and beloved friend. You might be asking yourself, exactly what makes this man so special? It’s simple. Dr. Tulloch has spent the majority of his life making a difference in the lives of others. Whether on the basketball court or behind the pulpit, Dr. Tulloch has used the power of positive confrontation to truly touch those around him. These efforts even extend to his partnership with TPF. Together, we have carefully crafted a plan to ensure that Dr. Tulloch continues to touch people’s lives, even after his death.

To understand the tenets of Dr. Tulloch’s legacy and the true effect that the power of positive confrontation can yield, you must first have a sense of his history. Born in 1937 into a cloud of witnesses, Dr. Tulloch grew up in Belton, Texas surrounded by a loving family dedicated to God and the Church. His family has a storied history as leaders in the Church, including charter members of First Presbyterian Church of Dallas and Trustees of First Presbyterian Church of Belton. It’s not a surprise, given his family history, that while Dr. Tulloch excelled at sports in school—even to the point where he received a college scholarship for basketball—he felt his call to serve others for most of his life.

It was this call that took him to Highland Presbyterian Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas. A town that when Dr. Tulloch arrived, was alive with illegal gambling thanks to private clubs. Known as a mini-Vegas, the residents and visitors to this town patronized these clubs with blatant disregard of local law, especially where alcohol and gambling were involved. Concerned, as they should have been, the local ministers’ alliance appointed a committee to investigate and eliminate this activity, as it was negatively impacting their congregations. Not surprisingly, Dr. Tulloch was an active part of this committee, participating in the collection and presentation of evidence that led to the crackdown on illegal activities. The reaction of the town was swift and violent. In fact, Dr. Tulloch received so many threats, he sent his family away while he remained in charge of his church. The power of positive confrontation—Dr. Tulloch not only used it to stop illegal gambling in Hot Springs, but he also used it First Presbyterian Church in Dickinson, Texas, to stand up to racism at a particularly volatile time in our nation’s history. He would accept nothing less than equal treatment for all people.

Eventually, Dr. Tulloch took his passionate heart and deep care for others to the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Dallas. There, while serving his congregation, he noticed that while they were comfortable with every basic need met, the church was surrounded by a largely ignored homeless population struggling just to stay alive. Naturally, Dr. Tulloch tried to set up regular meals for their homeless neighbors in the Church. Unfortunately, after the first gathering several church members complained about the strange people in the church. The power of positive confrontation—Dr. Tulloch used it to continue his battle to assist those less fortunate, and thanks to other kind church members and leaders, and the help of a respected local writer, The Stewpot was born. Since May 2008, The Stewpot has been the sole meal provider at The Bridge (Dallas’ homeless assistance center), serving 1,000-2,000 meals per day, seven days per week.

After he left the church to pursue his work as a licensed professional counselor and therapist, Dr. Tulloch continued to use the power of positive confrontation to transform the lives of his patients and their families. From health care facilities to children’s homes, Dr. Tulloch has remained dedicated to his original call and stayed focused on using the power of positive confrontation to impact the lives of those around him.

Approximately two years ago, after the death of his beloved wife, Dr. Tulloch decided it was time to make sure he would always be able to help others, even after his death. So, he created a planned gift to benefit Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services of Itasca, where he served as Chaplin for 18 years. Working together with Stefanie Marsden, his TPF representative, Dr. Tulloch discovered that he could also leave a gift to his original church First Presbyterian Church of Belton, which has always remained close to his heart. Since this conversation, Dr. Tulloch has established many more gifts designed to not only provide a current stream of income, but more importantly, to ensure his legacy is alive for years to come.