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Nurse of Herbert Armstrong and Joseph Tkach
pursues rights complaint

By Mac Overton

BIG SANDY, Texas--The nurse who was with both Herbert Armstrong and Joseph Tkach Sr. when they died has filed a complaint with the Texas Human Rights Commission against Ambassador University.

Bob Herrington, who attends with the United Church of God, was dismissed from AU last November. He said that, when he filed for unemployment benefits with the Texas Employment Commission, officials of that state agency suggested he contact the Human Rights Commission because of possible discrimination. Mr. Herrington says a university official told him he could not work for AU and also attend services of the UCG.

The commission is investigating a complaint brought by Mr. Herrington, but "I want to emphasize that I am not suing the university," he said.

He said he left Ambassador, where he had served as a nurse since 1984, after staffers there were forbidden to attend the church of their choice.

Russell Duke, president of the school, "said at a meeting that faculty and students would be allowed to worship where they wanted, but he said staff would not be allowed to attend with any organization deemed dissident," Mr. Herrington, a licensed vocational nurse and paramedic, told In Transition.

"It didn't seem right," Mr. Herrington said. "I had received a letter from Mr. [Ralph] Helge [WCG lawyer] early in the college's accreditation process stating the church and college were separate entities."

"I feel I've been a pretty good nurse; I've done my job for the university well," he said. "Nurses are to follow the Nurse Practice Act. I asked Dr. Duke to judge my job performance by the Nurse Practice Act, rather than where I went to church.

"He told me I could not attend United."

Mr. Herrington said he consciously avoided making his religious views known to students and others he was in contact with at the university.

Mr. Herrington said he resigned to avoid being fired, thereby keeping his personnel record clean.

"They offered me a severance package, but to get it I had to sign a paper which I felt gave away my civil rights," Mr. Herrington. "My father died when I was a boy; I remember his example. He was in the Korean War fighting for our rights. I did not get severance."

He said he drew only unemployment compensation for a short time, then found new employment. He then decided to return to school to study to become a funeral director.

Mr. Herrington, who joined the Ambassador nursing staff in 1984 while an AU student, managed the university's health center from 1989 to 1995.

He attended Mr. Armstrong and was with him when he died in January, 1986. He was also called to Pasadena, Calif., last summer during Mr. Tkach's fatal bout with cancer. He was with him when he died last September.

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