HSU Remembers Jonathan Price During Special Chapel Service

October 23, 2020

Jonathan Price was considered a hometown hero in Wolfe City, Texas before his life was tragically cut short when he was killed by a police officer after intervening in a domestic fight at a local convenience store.

Price is fondly remembered at Hardin-Simmons, as a student and Cowboy football player who played under Coach Jimmie Keeling. Upon hearing about Jonathan’s death, Coach Keeling had this to say about him,

“Jonathan Price was an outstanding great young man. I remember clearly, while we were recruiting him, that he was -Mr. Everything- in Wolfe City. Although I was head coach, I also served as position coach for the running backs and worked with Jonathan directly. He was a model young man, a joy to coach, and a strong player. He was well-liked by his teammates and classmates. Jonathan’s outlook and attitude were always positive, and he was a natural encourager.”

Of course, once a Cowboy, always a Cowboy! HSU’s football community is a very tight knit group, whose mantra is treating one another as “family.” In fact, one of Jonathan’s closest childhood friends and Wolfe City teammates, Case Roundtree also was roommates with Price when they both played football at HSU. Of his friend, Case said, “He was always looking out for people and wanting to help anyone he could.”

Tuesday, October 13th, a special service was held in Behrens Chapel to remember the life of Jonathan Price and to engage the HSU community of faculty, staff, and students in an open discussion about affecting change.

The service was live-streamed for those who were unable to attend in-person.

As attendees entered the chapel, the song playing in the background was the same one played at Jonathan’s funeral, “Press Your Way Through” while a collection of photos from his life played on a large screen at the front of the auditorium.

The service opened with Dr. Travis Craver, HSU Chaplain, reading scripture verses which were also shared during Jonathan’s funeral. The words from Psalm 34:18-19 and John 14:1-4 speak of the Lord’s nearness to the brokenhearted and the hope of Heaven.

President Eric Bruntmyer recounted the story of Jonathan’s heroism by intervening and doing the right thing on that fateful day in early October. He pointed out Jonathan’s bond with friends and family and the positive impact he made as speaker, mentor and community servant.

The attendees also had a chance to watch a recorded interview with Allan Malone, a resident of Wolfe City who considered Jonathan as one of his own sons. Mr. Malone, who walked through life with him from an early age, talked about Jonathan’s influence on the Malone family and the community. He reiterated that Jonathan will be greatly missed.

President Bruntmyer said, “just as football players take a time-out to come together, talk, and figure things out”, the entire HSU Community needed to this time-out to ask questions and reflect on subjects like justice, life, death, right, and wrong.

The service format then moved to a question and answer time with a panel of experts: Chief Stan Standridge, Abilene’s Chief of Police and President of the Texas Police Chiefs Association; Dr. Ryan Bowman, ACU Director of Multicultural Affairs; Dr. Sandy Self, Hardin-Simmons University Professor of Law and former Taylor County Prosecutor; and Dr. Travis Craver, Hardin-Simmons University Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Formation.

The various panel members weighed in with answers questions such as:
Why did this happen? What does police reform look like? And, how will we get justice in this case?

One notable moment was when Chief Standridge acknowledged and took responsibility for the wrongdoing that has happened within the police profession.

He shared that it isn’t enough to just talk about police policy reform, but it takes action and he gave tangible examples about how he believes that can happen with the support of communities throughout the State of Texas.

Another impactful moment was when Dr. Ryan Bowman responded to the question asking what individuals can do to address these issues from a Christian gospel perspective, saying, “The greatest compliment we could ever give the gospel is change.”

As the service drew to a close, President Bruntmyer challenged white students to reach out to minority students and ask permission to attend a church service with them in an effort to listen, understand, and build community. Dr. Bowman, in turn, urged minority students to not stay in a pocket of frustration and hatred, but to take a courageous act of faith in action to become part of a greater change by keeping the dialogue going.

If you missed this live chapel service, it can be viewed at https://youtu.be/nlAJB4vTx6c.