More than 400 active and retired members of the military and first responders attended the third annual Serving Our Heroes luncheon, one of our greatest outreach events that does just as the title says: serves men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting our country and our communities.
“We so enjoyed expressing our respect and appreciation for those who have served our country,” Senior Pastor Jack Graham said of all those who attended at Prestonwood Baptist Church.
Senior Pastor Graham mentioned that veterans might not always get the respect they deserve but that at Prestonwood, they will always be honored.
U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas was presented with the American Spirit Award. Rep. Johnson, a decorated fighter pilot who retired as a United States Air Force colonel, served in Korea and later in Vietnam, where he spent almost seven years as a prisoner of war.
“We’re in a roomful of great Americans,” Rep. Johnson said of the crowd before him. “This was a grand group.”
Evangelist Tim Lee, a United States Marine who lost his legs when he stepped on a mine during the Vietnam War, brought a powerful message to the audience.
“We have so many gods that many times, we put God second, third or fourth in our lives,” he told the men and women in the audience. “But you need to stand for God, live for God, something that lasts through eternity.”
He remembered one particular battle in Vietnam, perhaps the worst he ever saw.
“If you let me live,” he prayed to God, “I’ll give you my life.”
God let him live, and Tim has honored his word, traveling the world as an evangelist for the past 40 years.
Senior Pastor Graham invited men and women to stand when he called on those who are actively serving, then those who served in particular wars. Many who served during times of peace attended, as did many who served in Vietnam and Korea. However, most surprising were the many who fought in World War II.
Senior Pastor Graham later tweeted a photo of himself and the World War II vets, as well as another photo of a very special World War II veteran.
“Meet Clarence Griffith, 106 years old and a veteran of WW II. An amazing man. Works out twice a day. Volunteers at a local hospital. Deacon in his church. Still drives his car. Looks less than 80. Fought in the Pacific and in the Korean War. Loves God. What a man!” Senior Pastor Graham wrote.
Now in its third year, Serving Our Heroes is coordinated by Director of Prestonwood Foundation Ron Kelley, who said it is a team effort that brings together the entire staff for an event that means so much to so many.
Executive Pastor Mike Buster said this was the best one yet.
“I have heard so much positive feedback from those who attended,” he said. “One Vietnam War veteran shared with us that he had never before been honored for his service, and in fact, upon his return from war, had been spat upon. He attended our event with his daughter, and they both wept through the entire event.”
Published: May 22, 2019
Author: Michael Young
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