Board Member Spotlight: Dr. and Mrs. Dale Wood and Dr. and Mrs. Arnold Vardiman

Dale and Mertie Wood

Dr. Dale and Mertie Wood have been advocates, volunteers, and leaders for The Center for over 20 years. Their dedication and valuable service has been inspired by a firm belief in and love for The Center’s mission of alleviating suffering and touching lives in South Texas.

The Woods are no strangers to service and advocacy. Mertie Wood has spent much of her time over the years volunteering and has served on numerous boards with her husband for organizations like the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center, the Bexar County Medical Society and Medical Alliance, and the Board of Governors of the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio – M.D. Anderson. Dr. Dale Wood, a physician in our community, is a deacon at Trinity Baptist and served as a physician in the military, where he was appointed the Child Advocate for the prevention of child abuse and continues to support organizations that advocate for the health and well-being of children. He has served on the boards of the San Antonio Area Foundation, Boysville, and the Boy Scouts of America.

They became involved with The Ecumenical Center in the 1990s because they saw the good The Center was doing in San Antonio and wanted to help it grow. An event dear to the Woods’ hearts is the Legacy of Hope Luncheon, which they helped begin. But they also love the work that the Ethics in Business San Antonio is doing, as well as the Art Heals Hearts event.

The Woods especially believe in the good The Center is accomplishing in its pastoral services, chaplaincy counseling, and continuing education for clergy programs. Additionally, The Center’s devotion to making counseling services available to those in need, whether in tragedy-struck communities like Sutherland Springs or for veterans, has made Dale and Mertie proud to be part of The Ecumenical Center.

“The way The Center works with what people can afford makes it such an invaluable force for hope and healing for all in our community.”

~ Mertie Wood

The Woods cherish the friendships they have forged through The Center and they love to see how the community comes together to bring meaningful change to others’ lives. They especially want to recognize the tireless work of CEO/Executive Director Mary Beth Fisk in growing The Center’s outreach and multiplying the number of lives it touches. We want to extend our deep gratitude for Dale and Mertie’s years of service and continued support of The Center.


Arnold and Tracy Vardiman

The Ecumenical Center has been abundantly blessed in many ways, but especially in having wonderful supporters and volunteers like Dr. Arnold and Tracy Vardiman. For many years, the Vardimans have been enthusiastic advocates for all that The Center stands for as a force for hope and healing in South Texas.

Tracy Vardiman, a stay-at-home mom who married her high school sweetheart, served as co-chair of the Legacy of Hope Luncheon and loves how powerful and inspiring this event is. The Legacy of Hope Luncheon highlights well-known figures who have overcome incredibly painful pasts to beat the odds and inspire others with hope to do the same. Tracy saw the event as a great way to attract guests who aren’t familiar with The Center and introduce them to the work we do in the community.

“We have first-class speakers who are always fascinating. It is amazing to see how they respond to The Center. They are always impressed.”

One of her favorite luncheons was hosting the Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy in 2017. Co-chairing an event that brought an inspirational testimony of hope to so many was a special, humbling experience for her.

Dr. Arnold Vardiman, a neurosurgeon, has also devoted his life to healing and family. Arnold and Tracy are proud to support and advocate for The Center, almost on a daily basis.

“Anytime someone approaches me about the decision to seek counseling, I point them to The Center. I know many individuals who are grateful to The Center.”

Another program that’s dear to the Vardiman family is The Center’s initiative of providing veterans with accessible, first-rate counselors and therapists. In fact, the Vardimans love all the hard-working staff at The Center that makes advocating for the organization such a joy.

“They are all consummate professionals as well as truly caring individuals. Their love for and dedication to The Center is remarkable and palpable in all that they do.”

We at The Center want to sincerely thank the Vardiman’s for helping The Center grow and reach as many lives as possible with our service of education and healing in the community. We encourage you to get to know them and thank them at our next event!