The Family Services Center hosted a farewell celebration for its executive director, Doak Givan, on Thursday evening in Brownwood.    

Attendees enjoyed food and cake as Givan’s friends and colleagues reminisced at a podium about his 18 years with the organization. Givan looked on with his wife Cynthia.    

He assumed the executive director role on June 1, 1999.   

FSC family advocate Esmeralda Riojas is the organization’s longest-tenured employee and has worked with Givan from the beginning. “It’s like I won’t be able to see my little brother every morning any more,” Riojas said. “He’s been a part of my life through a lot of changes and personal challenges. It’s going to to be a very big change for us at Family Services Center.”   

She said Givan has become a good friend as well as a colleague, and that his leadership steadied the nonprofit. “I knew, probably after his first year, that we were going to be OK,” she said.   

FSC parent educator Mandy Callaway has been with the organization for about two years. She called Givan’s departure a “tremendous loss.”   

“We will miss him enormously,” Callaway said, “But we are super excited for his new adventure. We are a family here, so that’s what’s going to propel us through this time of transition.”   

Givan’s “new adventure” has taken him to the Dallas Theological Seminary, where he hopes to enter ministry work full-time and become a “minister to ministers.”   

“I’m getting a Bible certification there,” he said.   

Givan said he will miss the people he worked with and helped during his time at the Family Services Center. “I’m eternally grateful for the people in this room,” he said. “Just serving families is what this has been about. It’s going to be hard to leave that.”   

The Family Services Center was founded in 1995 and offers professional counseling, education, advocacy and support services for children, parents and families. It holds classes in everything from anger management to adult literacy, and shares its 901 Ave. B location with several other community nonprofits.   

“We have had a great ride with him as our leader,” Riojas said. “We were blessed to have the Givans come.”   

The FSC’s new director, Shanna Skipper, will begin next week. Givan’s final day is Sept. 8.