Van Andrew Wilson

Tender Warrior

Bethany Centre - Jjungo, Uganda

Peter Kiwanuka directs the 'Bethany Centre' in Uganda. Summer 2008, Claire Wilson with Steve and Paige Burchfield make the trip to the Bethany Centre. They were able to see for themselves all the great things the Van Wilson Memorail Fund has been able to contributed to.

Community Meeting (Summer 2008)

Flowing Water


Pastor Augustine with the children

Peter Kiwanuka and MacGregor Magruder at the Water Well Dedication

The Well Dedication

Peter teaching

Peter, Claire, and the children of the Bethany Centre

This is a picture of the "climbing boulder" when it was in the planning stage.      


The 2010 boulder dedication Ceremony was posted in the newspaper reading:

"The Recreation & Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, is opening the new Perkins Road park featuring a climbing boulder in memory of Van. Ceremony is at 10am on Saturday, 16 October 2010."

Van Wilson Memorial Fund

There was a memorial fund set up in Van's name at First Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge, LA. Funds have been distributed to:

  • The Naval Special Warfare Foundation (SEAL support)
  • Bethany Centre (children's centre/school in Uganda)
  • Fisher House Foundation (accommodations for war wounded's families on military bases).
  • A memorial bench placed in Coronada, Ca.
  • The last project is help with playground equipment at the The Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC) park near the Wilson's home. There is a "climbing boulder" that has a plaque strategically placed on it to honor Van's name.

When the distribution was being finally decided in December 2006, the funds were to be depleted by all of these donations with the project with BREC being the last in it's support to the plans for upgrading. Below is the action taken in April 2007 at a BREC board meeting:

The commission approved three cooperative agreements for private donations to enhance community park facilities, including:
* A $4,378 donation from the family of the late Van Wilson to pay half the cost of a new climbing boulder at the proposed Xtreme Sports facility at Perkins Road Park.
* A $50,000 donation from Raising Cane's to pay half the cost of constructing a new dog park at City Park.
* A $125,000 donation from Capital One to pay half the cost of constructing a new tennis center in City Park.

Although it is not necessary, some people have expressed a desire to "be a part of the memorial" and it's goals. Van Wilson Memorial Fund is still open for contributions through the Bethany Centre Alliance:

The Bethany Centre is a community ministry near the village of Jjungo, Uganda which provides educational, spiritual and physical support to the children and villagers. This nonprofit was formed to help their local effort. 

Mission: Bethany Centre Alliance is a community of friends partnering with a Ugandan community ministry, Bethany Centre, established to help the local people provide for the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of the orphans, youth and HIV patients residing around the village of Jjungo.

Company Overview: Bethany Centre Alliance was started to support this Ugandan community near Jjungo, approximately 30 miles from Kampala, the capital. Peter Kiwanuka is connected to this village and his mother provided the land for the existing school. After returning to Uganda from the United States, Peter was compelled to help his friends and family in Jjungo. The community has built and staffed a primary school, giving structure, education, and lunch to over 500 children in need. Our partnership has helped to drive the addition of needed classrooms and the installation of an on site water well.

Checks can be made to "Bethany Centre Alliance", with Van Wilson Memorial in the memo line and mailed to: 1150 Baird Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. 

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Thanks for all your support and love!