I am a Christian, an American, and a Texan of Scottish/English and Native American ancestry – in that order. I was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and Panhandle of Texas and spent every summer, until I was fourteen, on my grandparents’ small farm near Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, East Texas.
After graduating from Pampa High School in Pampa, Texas, I attended West Texas State University (now W.T. A&M) to study music. While there I became enamored with military service and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army when I graduated in 1973.
The majority of my adult life has been spent in the defense of our country and I retired from that 30-year career January 2003. During that period of service I commanded at all levels from section to battalion in assignments at many locations throughout the United States and the world. Specifically, I have served all through Europe, and parts of the South Pacific and Asia. I have extensive experience in the Middle East and have lived in or traveled through all the Muslim countries of that area (from Morocco to Afghanistan) with the exception of five countries. I have been blessed to have served with or commanded the very best of America’s youth and commanded by some of the greatest of America’s leaders.
As for my religious roots, living those many summers with my Methodist grandparents on their small farm, I received a heavy dose of “old time” religion. At the age of 14, I accepted Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior and was baptized in the Disciples of Christ Church (the “First Christian Church”) in Pampa, Texas on October 17, 1964. As a youth I enjoyed Church and worked hard at various projects. However, later, during my college years and early military career I did not attend church except for an occasional visit to a military chapel. I still believed in God but was naïve in that I did not feel the need to attend Church because I was either studying or working too hard.
Realizing something was missing in our lives, my wife, Gayle, and I began our Presbyterian journey by joining MacPherson Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville, North Carolina, in April 1983 while assigned to neighboring Fort Bragg. Since that time I have served God and His Church as an ordained Deacon and Elder. Realizing God was calling me to do more, I completed the required studies to become a Commissioned Lay Pastor (CLP) and while awaiting a church I felt the call to attend seminary and was accepted by the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in August 2003. It was at the beginning of my second year of seminary that I was commissioned to a small church in rural south-central Pennsylvania as their CLP (the first CLP in Carlisle Presbytery) on September 28, 2004. Being a CLP while attending seminary made me a better CLP and, at the same time, being a CLP while attending seminary made me a better student in that I was able to bring both dynamics into play within both scenarios – church experience versus classroom and vice versa.
I have been blessed with great parents, friends, the perfect spouse, prosperity, and a great military career. As a military officer I was trained to always be in control of every aspect of my person and surroundings; however, now as I look back over my life, I can see that it was God who was always in control as He was always with me and preparing me for the ministry. God has been gracious to me and extremely generous with His blessings: three combat tours (South Lebanon, 1984; Operation Desert Storm, 1991; and Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001-2002); broken back (I really should not be walking); and a soul mate that is my prayer/faith warrior, my best friend, and my wife of 39 years (and my high school sweetheart).
Gayle is a semi-professional singer of religious music (Bachelor of Music Education) and she sometimes allows me to sing duets with her. We both have a great love of music and especially Southern Gospel music. Along with this interest, I am a struggling Scottish bagpiper, living historian, and a consummate student of historical information (Ancient, Biblical, Early American, Victorian, and the military conflicts of America).
We are not sure when the urge to return to our home state began for us, but we thank God that He allowed us to do so after 37 years. We are so excited to be living where we began our lives and are thankful to the congregation of The Presbyterian Church of Gatesville for listening to the Holy Spirit.
God has been very good to me all through my life while serving my country and now serving Him as I use the many gifts He blessed me with for His purposes – all for His glory and honor. With a great sense of humbleness and excitement Gayle and I are looking forward to doing His work here in the community and will join with The Presbyterian Church of Gatesville in stepping out in faith to a new page of our mutual history.