It’s no surprise that Tom Huiner is invested in the legacy of Timothy Christian Schools. As the first of four generations to have come through Timothy — a legacy that began with his mother and father, who attended Timothy’s forerunner, Ebenezer Christian School — Tom’s legacy and that of Timothy’s are almost inseparable. And, his Timothy story began in a kindergarten classroom back at Timothy’s Cicero campus. It was there that he sat in a desk right next to the woman who would one day become his wife, June Huizenga, now Huiner.
From Tom’s earliest days, God’s providential hand was orchestrating a story that would inevitably be bound up with Timothy’s. While unaware during those early days of kindergarten that he would one day marry the young, beautiful, blonde girl sitting next to him, by the time he entered the U.S. Marines it was unquestionable. Her almost daily letters to him were a mark of fidelity and lovingkindness that got him through many difficult days abroad and always made mail call the favorite part his day.
Not surprisingly, they were married soon after his return. Out of the Marines and looking for a way to support a soon to be growing family, Tom decided to purchase a garbage truck and entered the waste disposal business. One truck became two, which became three, and eventually Tom was running a fleet of 13 trucks in the western suburbs. Eventually, he also purchased a ready-made concrete business that all three of his sons, also Timothy graduates, would run with him. By the early 2000’s, Tom and his sons had very successfully run and sold both businesses, freeing him up to be more deeply involved in his other passion — Timothy.
With a heart for Timothy and a successful business career behind him, Tom was asked to serve on the Timothy School Board to lead the transportation committee and oversee the expansion of Timothy’s current high school building. This expansion, the collective vision of many Timothy supporters, was also spearheaded, in-part, by Tom’s mother-in-law and her family, who were passionate about the mission of Christian education. In many ways, it felt like a natural continuation of his family’s commitment to the school and their passion to bring Christian education to as many students as possible.
These roles eventually led him to a position on Timothy’s Foundation Board, where he served alongside his good friend and cousin, Peter Huizenga. While June had served on the Timothy Foundation Board for many years before Tom, it was in this role that he really started to understand for himself the importance of the Foundation to the mission of the school. The Timothy Foundation provides sustainability to Timothy by managing an endowment that provides funding for initiatives that help the school fulfill its mission, the greatest of which is needs-based tuition assistance for families that request it.
The genesis of the Foundation is also uniquely a part of Tom’s Timothy story, as it started many years ago through the single bequest of another cousin, a missionary with a heart for Christian education, “Aunt Tena” Huizenga. Like Tom, Aunt Tena saw the benefits of a Christian education and though she had no children of her own, wanted to make an eternal investment into the lives of her children in Christ. Her initial gift of $28,000 has now grown to $4.5 million and, since then, has made an education at Timothy possible for thousands of children whose families otherwise could not have afforded it.
Reflecting on his decision to commit his time and resources to Timothy, Tom said, “Christian education provides families with the support that children need today that they can’t get in public schools.” And, Tom wants to make sure that as many children and families as possible have access to that blessing.
Tom also has plenty of personal reasons to continue investing in Timothy’s future — at least five to be exact — as the Huiner family legacy continues at Timothy, today. “We have three grandkids going through the school – Travis, Zach and Shelby – and another grandson on the way who we expect will start his journey at Timothy in the future. Travis and Zach’s younger sister, Sloan, will also start first grade next year. My kids who have gone through the school have already had fantastic experiences and I’m going to do everything I can to make it even better for my grandkids.”