As young teens, John and Dot Overton met while running around the Army Base, where each of their fathers were stationed. Dot was only 13 years old while John was 14 years old. “I thought she was the prettiest thing I had ever seen,” recalled John. For the pair, that was it, they were inseparable from that moment on, even though they never attended the same school. Dot shared, “You know where you write on your little church quarterlies, DAT + DO? All that? I did that.”
The couple went on to get married in 1954 and built a life together that would take them all over the world collecting adventures. John was originally hired at NASA as an instrumentation engineer at the high-speed test center in Edwards, California working with rocket ships like the X-1B and X-15.
Dot went on to major in home economics giving much of the credit for their good health today, now in their 90’s, to the way she adjusted her understanding of healthy living by keeping up with the most up-to-date information and cooking methods. But mostly she gives the credit to maintaining a good attitude, no matter what life held for them.
Anyone who knows them would likely testify that this has certainly been a value they have not only preached, but they have lived it out. One conversation with the couple and you’ll be inspired by their positivity, faith, and commitment to showing God’s love to all they encounter. Once the pair had retired, they began to delve into volunteer work at their church joining a life altering mission trip to Nicaragua. John recalled with tears welling in his eyes, “The last day, we went to an addiction center, and we gave our testimonies and 19 men bowed on the concrete floor and accepted Christ as their Savior. But we had to leave and catch a plane back to Houston, so we were heartbroken that we couldn’t stay and disciple them.”
Motivated by this experience, the pair found an addiction center in Dickinson with a similar recovery program working with men. They wrote customized curriculum and got permission to teach classes to the groups. “I would say that was the highlight of our life,” said John as he reflected on the seven years of teaching at the center. He went on to say, “We made great friends, loved them, and prayed for them.” Dot interrupted saying, “We prayed with them,” an important distinction. The feeling they had on the mission trip was inspired by a calling to not only jump in and out of one’s life during hardship, but to walk with them through it, not leaving their side when it became difficult. This is exactly what the couple did through this ministry, explaining that addicts are often abandoned by family as the road to recovery is wrought with painful consequences and hurts for those closest to them. John and Dot wanted to show the love that God shows which is one that doesn’t leave your side when days are dark.
The Overton’s impact has been so great that a surprise was recently held at The Crossing in their honor, gathering many of the people they had touched over the years. The couple was kept busy in their apartment while the staff placed a couple hundred people in the community’s lobby, quietly waiting for the two to come around the corner to shout, “Surprise!” The moment went off just as planned with both John and Dot overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude as they experienced the evidence of a life well lived in the faces of all who attended.