TYLER (KYTX) - A Tyler husband and wife are being recognized for their incredible generosity to UT Tyler.
Bill and Glenda Barrett have been awarded UT's Patriot Award, and the community is celebrating their generosity.
The Barretts are extremely special to the UT Tyler community. They have contributed to UT Tyler for more than 20 years now. So many students would not have been able to afford college without scholarships the Barretts provided.
The Patriot Award honors true compassion.
UT Tyler President Rod Mabry says, "This award is given to people who are dedicated to the university, have been loyal over a number of years and have done something very special for the university."
That's why it's no surprise Bill and Glenda Barrett took home this year's crystal eagle - the trophy for the Patriot Award.
Mabry says the East Texas natives have been giving to the university for more than two decades, expecting nothing in return.
"They're just great regular people.That's what's fun!" Mabry says.
They started providing UT Tyler scholarships through the annual Patriot Golf Classic.
"They help raise scholarship money through that," Mabry said, "and then in 2006 they established their own scholarship fund for students."
The Barrett's fund is now one of the largest scholarship endowments at UT Tyler. One of the hundreds of recipients is Dallas native Alexander Booth.
Booth says, "They gave me a grant for $4,000 a year and it doesn't have to be repaid."
He says the Barretts have changed his life.
"I'm young and I come from a single parent household, from a low income area of Dallas."
Booth spoke at the private celebration for the Barretts Friday.
"It was really great to see how much they mean not just to me," Booth says, "but to the whole East Texas community."
The couple decided to accept the award at a private ceremony because Bill Barrett is suffering from brain cancer.
Mabry says, "Mr. Barrett is just an amazing person. He is ill and they decided to have the celebration of this award in their home."
Surrounded by family friends and appreciative community members, the Barretts were able to realize how much they are loved.
The couple is well known for their former company Barrett Motor. They sold the company in 2004, and are now focused on Bill's health, and helping East Texas students get a college education.
The Barretts pay for about 20 scholarships a year, for students who would otherwise be incapable of affording college.
Patriot award recipients have all donated a million dollars or more to UT Tyler.