Valeria Sherard (1923-2007) is the veteran Alaska Missionary for whom our state mission offering is named. She grew up in a Christian home with dedicated parents loyal to their church. In 1945 she graduated from Blue Mountain College with a BA degree. Following graduation, Valeria taught social science in secondary schools in the delta region of Mississippi for the next 4 years.
As she was teaching she began to feel the call of God to do missions. After unexpected events happened, Valeria entered New Orleans Seminary, graduating in 1952 with a Master of Religious Education degree.
The summer following graduation Valeria came to Alaska as a summer missionary. After serving 10 weeks she was asked by the Chugach Association to stay and continue to do her work. Her heart only grew for the people of Alaska. In 1955, Valeria followed a strong call to work with Alaska Natives. She served 3 years in Selawik. Afterwards, she worked a short time in Sitka before returning to the Arctic to serve in Kiana for 20 years. Moving out of Kiana was a cultural shock but she continued doing ministry in Fairbanks and Anchorage until she retired in 1990. In total Valeria Sherard served our Lord in Alaska for 47 years.
Each September when we emphasize the State Missions Offering, we are reminded of the sacrifices of our early missionaries such as Valeria, the hard work of our current missionaries, and the great need for prayer and financial support for the mission needs here in Alaska.