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University of Missouri

A Higher Calling

From life to love, the Flowers have it figured out.

Tyrone and Renee Flowers

Tyrone and Renee Flowers got engaged just six weeks after meeting. They married Aug. 5, 1995. Photo courtesy of Renee Flowers.

Tyrone Flowers grew up in group homes and juvenile detention centers. At age 17, he was shot and lost the use of his legs. He has had too much uncertainty and challenges in his life to not have a plan.

Tyrone, BA ’93, JD ’98, met Renee Rose Flowers, M Ed ’97, at a Bible study group on campus and waited only six weeks before popping the question. “I never really thought about how fast it was,” he says. “I knew what I was looking for.”

Wooed by his drive, charisma and passion — “He wasn’t bad on the eyes, either” — Renee said yes. They married Aug. 5, 1995. It’s all part of the Flowers’ life plan, a document they drafted together that takes them from the present to age 75. “So far, so good,” Tyrone says.

Tyrone and Renee recently celebrated 18 years of marriage and 10 years working together as president and executive director at Higher M-Pact, a Kansas City, Mo., organization Tyrone founded to mentor high-risk urban youth. What was worse than getting shot at 17, he says, was not having adults in his life who believed in him.

“I’ve always had tunnel vision when it comes to my purpose in life: to instill hope and inspiration and to serve as a conduit of understanding and acceptance between different groups and cultures,” Tyrone says.

On football game days, the Flowers return to Mizzou to watch freshman Anthony Sherrils, whom they mentored since he was 7. Sometimes they bring youth with them to tour campus and learn what they could become. “It’s neat to share our Mizzou tradition,” Renee says.

As they move into the second decade of Higher M-Pact, they’re establishing a national mentoring model for high-risk youth. What’s waiting for them at the end of that life plan? A Winnebago.

“I want to go state to state, speaking, educating, working with young adults and enjoying what those states have to offer,” Tyrone says.