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Rev. David E. Gay Jr., the pastor of Beulah Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Ala., was the a social and mental health worker prior to his life in ministry. In 2000, he became the first Black director of Bryce Hospital, the largest psychiatric facility in the state.

Rev. Gay’s journey began after graduating Druid High School in 1974. He then entered the University of Alabama and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work in 1982. During his time in school, Gay worked at Bryce in a variety of positions. After graduating, he took a job as the director of the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility.

The opportunity at Bryce came eight years later. The facility was known for its humane treatment of the mentally ill and its stellar treatment record of discharging healthy patients. Gay oversaw 1,100 employees and over 400 patients and over 300 patients between two nursing homes he also supervised.

Since 2013, Gay has been leading Beulah Baptist and has introduced the church to a series of developing ministries. The hard-working Gay is actually still fortifying his education, currently studying at the New Orleans Theological Seminary pursuing a master’s degree of Divinity.

Gay has been married to his wife, Flora, for 34 years. The couple have two grown children and one grandson.

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