Lions Club Meeting

Lions Robert Wood, left, and Travis Keeney, right, welcomed Air Force Chaplain Lt. Col. Buddy Walker, center, to their recent meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 6 in Marshall.

The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, Aug. 6 at the Panola-Harrison meeting room in Marshall. A luncheon of deep-fried catfish was served by Catfish Express Catering.

Vice-President Robert Wood called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions with a reminder to turn off or silence cellphones. Lion Robert asked Lion P.A. Almquist to open the meeting with prayer, followed by the pledges to the U.S. and Texas flags led by Lion Tim Young. ”On Top of Old Smokey“ and “The Marine Hymn” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Dare Westmoreland and accompanied on the piano by Lion Stacy Bowen.

Lion Tamer Patrick Owens welcomed Lions and guests to the meeting. Guests included Harrison Sheriff Tom McCool, Chief Deputy Jay Webb, Sheriff’s Department’s canine handlers and their dogs, Becky Palmer with Marshall Symphony, Summit United Methodist Church pastor Dick Dobbins and Constable Darrell Griffin.

Rotarian David Collins was at the meeting to tell about the upcoming Centennial Celebration set for Aug. 24 at the Marshall Convention Center. He announced that the president of Rotary International will be their guest speaker.

Lion Patrick advised that there were 40 individuals in the Den. Lion Patrick read the Thought for the Day: “Drive carefully; it’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied fines on several Lions with some adding to the Lions Camp Cans. He fined a couple of Lions for being late. Lion Chris told a joke and had everyone laughing.

Lion Chris reported that there were no birthdays but Lions Melinda and Richard Gaulden celebrated their wedding anniversary Aug. 8. He appointed Lion Lindsey Spiller to lead the Club in singing our “Happy Song” to them.

We are sad to say that Tuesday was Lion Lindsey Spiller’s last meeting. She is moving back to College Station and is transferring her membership to her old club. She has been an asset to our club and we will miss her.

VP Robert recognized Becky Palmer, president of the Marshall Symphony League, to tell of their fall concert on Saturday, Sept. 17 on Washington Street. There will be three tryouts before the concert, with the winner getting to perform with the symphony. Entry forms are available on their website, www.marshallsymphony.com. The theme is Voices: The Heartland Concert and features country music.

Lions, be reminded that the “9/11 Heroes Run” will take place Saturday, Sept. 7 at Telegraph Park. The run benefits the Travis Manion Foundation (TMF). Anyone who would like to participate in the 5K run/walk/ruck and/or the 1 mile fun run will need to register in advance. Lion Travis Keeney is a local sponsor and organizer.

Lion Robert Wood reminded Lions that we will be helping with the East Texas Taco Fest 2019, to be held on the Peter Whetstone Square on Sept. 14. There will be great fun for the whole family with a Kids Zone, Lucha Libre Wrestling, Jalapeno Eating Contest, Chihuahua Race, Salsa Dance Off a Margarita Villa, five great bands and of course, tacos.

VP Wood introduced program speaker, Chaplain Lt. Colonel Hyral B. “Buddy” Walker Jr., wing chaplain for the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Walker leads a team of four active duty chaplains, three religious affairs airmen, four individual mobilization augmentees and six contractors.

He is responsible to the base commander for providing the free exercise of religion, pastoral care, religious services, visitation and counseling to over 11,400 military and civilian personnel, along with their 6,300 family members.

He provides guidance and oversight for all chaplain corps personnel within the area of operations and advises the Air Force Global Strike Command Chaplain Staff.

Chaplain Walker is endorsed by the United Methodist Church, having been ordained as a deacon in 1995 and as an elder in 1999. He was commissioned in the Air Force on April 25, 1999.

He is also a commercial pilot with 3,600 hours of flying experience in 23 airframes. Walker received a BA in History in 1987 from Texas A&M University and in 1996 earned a Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Fort Worth. He has also attended many schools during his Air Force training.

Walker said his first church was in a very small town — Laneville United Methodist Church. He related that while he was there, he prayed to God for something more exciting. He really got it with the Air Force.

Walker divulged that of the men on base, 25% are Catholic, but they have Latter Day Saints, Orthodox, Protestants of all denominations, Muslim and Jews as well. Buddy said the airman has to fill out a “religious accommodation request” to be able to practice his religion. He also reported that in 1999, there were 1/2 million airmen; today there are 321,000. In 1999, there were 600 Chaplains; reduced today to 430.

Walker joked that when you see those bombers in the air overhead — pray. The youngest plane at Barksdale is a 1961 model. He said when folks thank him for his service, he tells them, “Thank you for paying for it.” He said our tax dollars are what keeps those planes in the air.

Walker hopes to retire to an airport-live community in Canton in a few years. He will be able to have his plane handy for trips to see his parents in Lufkin and all of his “Godchildren” all around the U.S.

VP Wood thanked Walker for his delightfully interesting and informative program and presented him with a Lions writing pen. Lion Wood closed with prayer and adjourned the meeting.