BLACK HISTORY MONTH — Glenn Alexander guided on path to helping others in Port Arthur

Published 12:50 am Saturday, February 18, 2023

Glenn Alexander’s childhood home on 5th Street faced an alley, as was common for non-whites who lived on the east side of Houston Avenue in the early 1950s.

The home burned down and was rebuilt by the family who lived in the house in front of it. This new home had an indoor bathroom that wasn’t big enough for a bathtub, but it had a shower.

It’s from these beginnings that Alexander — who later served in the U.S. Air Force, became a pediatric nurse practitioner, ran a part of the health department, took mission trips to Haiti, became a minister and is leading a theology school — found his path in life.

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“I come from a very, very humble background and my whole thing was to stabilize the health and the welfare of the community to the best of my ability,” Alexander said from his office at Ruach Ministries International in Port Arthur. “This is what I always wanted to do.”

Alexander, 77, has spent a lifetime in service to others.

A Port Arthur native, he graduated from Lincoln High School the same year that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

He attended Prairie View A&M as a biology major with a minor in health. Two weeks after graduation, while the draft was ongoing and the war in Vietnam was close to an end, he enlisted in the Air Force.

“Being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference in our lives,” he said. “I was working in biochemistry and this three star general came through to do what’s called an IG, he was the inspector general for the hospitals.”

The general looked at Alexander, a young man with two stripes on his arms working in biochemistry, and asked what he was doing. He answered that this was his duty.

The general told him he would hear from him in two weeks, which frightened Alexander, who was worried it meant they would ship him off to Vietnam.

But Alexander was in the right place at the right time meeting the general. He ended up being sent to officer candidate school on a 90-day challenge. This meant he had 90 days to do what takes others four to five years to attain.

He earned two bars, became second lieutenant and worked as a social psychologist for the Air Force.

Career changes

Alexander came home to Port Arthur following an honorable discharge and found work at Gulf Oil refinery. That’s when he saw a brochure for a nursing program, so back off he went to Prairie View and in two years finished the program.

He later found work at what was called Gulf Coast Nursing Home, where he stayed for a year. He went on to become the nursing director for the Port Arthur Health Department. He was able to take advantage of a scholarship to Texas Woman’s University, where he obtained certification to become a nurse practitioner.

Once again he was in the right place at the right time as he shadowed doctors while chronicling a detailed diary of his work for the courses he was taking.

He still has the medical diary and said it’s a treasured possession.

His career continued and he opened Children’s Health Center in 1992, providing low cost sports exams and caring for the children of the area.

Things have fallen into place for Alexander during the years. He was offered a chance by Dr. Fred Peter Ashy to buy a medical office from Ashy in the 2100 block of Procter.

“Everything I did, God let me do fast track,” he said. “I was on the fast track in the Air Force. I was on the fast track in nursing school. I was on the fast track in A&M school and I pre-accepted for nine different universities, nine different universities and not a dollar was exchanged. I did it all pro bono. I did this for practice. I got appointed on the board of Nurse Examiners in Advance Practice. I represent practice for the State of Texas.”

Alexander said all of this was God-given. He has the natural component, the biological component, the medical component and now the spiritual component.

Spiritual

Alexander and his wife, Yoshi, run a theology school with various degrees from associates to doctorate and students from around the country.

Before he retired, the Alexanders were part of a group of Port Arthurans who traveled to Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, to provide medical and other services to the residents.

He saw medical procedures performed in the jungles with the patients on wooden doors under local anesthesia.

“I didn’t just see miracles. I was a participant in them as they were occurring,” he said.

Alexander’s church is still involved with Haiti and sends money earmarked for cooking, oil, rice and water. During Christmas they buy bolts of fabric to create uniforms for 227 school children.

Yoshi Alexander

His wife Yoshi is also a well-known name in the city, having worked at the health department. She understands the impact her husband had made on the city and on others.

“There is only one Glenn E. Alexander. I’ve not known anyone who has a more genuine love, concern, and heart for people of all walks of life,” Yoshi Alexander said. “Over the last 30 years, he took care of generations of families in his clinic, and we still get testimonies of how he provided excellent medical care, helped them, prayed for them, listened to them and encouraged them in their career paths.”

Alexander’s life, Yoshi said, is dedicated to helping others. And because of his wisdom and integrity, he is a man that people look up to and want to emulate. She also said he is an excellent father to their children and a loving Apostle at their church.

“Glenn has left a legacy in this community,” she said. “I’m just honored to be his wife and to share my life with him.”

Glenn and Yoshi Alexander have four children: Yoshara, who works in forensic science; Glenn Alexander II, a musical conductor; Yoshell, who works with Lockheed Martin; and Yoshandae, who is a student at Prairie View A&M.