Nurse Deb and Postman Scott Taylor minister at AU together
Get this: between the two of them, Director of Health Services Deb Taylor and her husband, Director of Postal Operations Scott Taylor, have served at Anderson University for 18 years.
But for people who know the Taylors, they’re probably not surprised that they were youth counselors together for nearly two decades (at Lake Junaluska retreat center in North Carolina.)
After all, the couple does more than simply run AU Health Services and postal operations; they minister to the students through prayer, encouragement and even posts on Twitter. But between Deb Taylor establishing health services here and being a camp counselor on behalf of Trinity United Methodist Church in Anderson, South Carolina, there is an event that links these two aspects of their life in ministry: an epiphany.
When they were leaving the camp one summer day in 1989, Deb Taylor felt a calling to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She said she felt the need after watching campers fall ill or become injured.
“A stomach bug hit some of our kids; one was doing a skit and totally messed his knee up and had to go home,” Deb Taylor said. “It just seemed we were constantly caring for someone sick or injured.”
So she earned a degree in nursing. A decade after earning her degree and serving in an outpatient clinic in Anderson for a decade, Dr. Bob Hanley, then-dean of student services, hired Deb Taylor to start a health center at AU in 2002 and serve as its first director.
Deb Taylor served by herself for more than a year as the University’s school nurse and researched what health services programs looked like at other universities. In the meantime, the University hired Sarah Forsythe, another nurse, to serve as the assistant director of health services.
“In the early years, Sarah and I would triage and treat students and for those that needed more care we referred to AnMed Family Medicine. Now, we have a (health professional) who can write prescriptions so we rarely have to refer students off campus,” Taylor said. “We also have a physician, Dr. Scott Counts, our Medical Director, works with us one or two days a week.”
“We had to grow because the school grew,” Deb Taylor said.
A decade after Deb Taylor came to AU, President Evans Whitaker asked if her husband wanted a job at AU.
Scott Taylor served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam and then worked for the United States Postal Service before coming to AU.
To say the least, Scott Taylor prefers his postal work at AU to his previous work in the field.
Working at AU is “like going from the dark side of The Force to light side of The Force,” he said.
As the director of postal operations, he oversees the handling of campus mail and packages. Before the start of school each year in August through after the school year in May, his office processes about 3,500 packages a month.
But in addition to sorting mail and packages, Scott Taylor handles the ups and downs of students’ lives with encouraging words and prayer.
“It’s a big mission field,” Scott Taylor said.
He knows when they’re upset and prays with them, Deb Taylor said.
Scott Taylor said prayer needs range from students being homesick and the stress of upcoming tests. When students come to AU, it’s often their first time being away from home, he said.
Deb Taylor said the students and their parents appreciate her husband’s kind words and intercession.
“The kids absolutely love him,” Deb Taylor said. “He gets presents, cookies; parents send him thank-you notes.”
Scott Taylor, who was most valuable player on the T.L. Hanna High School basketball team, is a committed volunteer for Trojan sports, too: he sweeps the basketball court floors and goes to as many games as he can.
Yep, Scott Taylor is popular, Deb Taylor said, adding that he’s a hit on Twitter with more than 1,200 followers.
He tweets encouraging words as @au_postman, too. On the first move-in day of the 2020-2021 school year, he encouraged a new AU teaching grad to “be the Best Teacher like AU has taught you.”
Deb Taylor smiles when she reflects upon her husband’s popularity on campus. When he first started at AU, he was known as “Nurse Deb’s husband.” Now, she is referred to as “Postman Scott’s wife.”
The Taylors’ two daughters, Michelle and Melissa, attended AU, as well as their son-in-law, Eric. The Taylors also have six grandchildren.
The couple believe their work at AU is a continuation of their ministry at Lake Junaluska camp. In addition to using their respective professional skills in nursing, administration and postal operations, Scott and Deb Taylor relish the fact that they are encouraged—by their employer—to worship in chapel together.
“When you have a passion for a place,” Scott Taylor said, “you share that passion together.”