MY LIFE’S PROGRESSION – Part Two (click the pix to read more)

After failing to find satisfactory employment at home, I joined the U.S. Army. This provided an avenue for me to “see the world” and have opportunity for the “G I Bill” (education) since my dad couldn’t afford to provide higher education.

Following my training at Fort Benning, GA, “Home of the Rangers”, and at my choice, I went to Germany. This turned out to be one of the “major” (pardon the pun) good choices in my life. As a peacetime Army, our duties were less rigid and I was in the middle of Europe – a mecca for traveling!

I visited (East & West) Berlin two years before the “wall” went up, spent weekends in Austria (a most beautiful place, similar to the  above Alps photo) and Italy, primarily visiting the island city of Venice.

Venice was a most unusual place with no streets or cars, just canals and boat – thousands of boats! At the Doge’s (Duke’s) Palace courtyard, every afternoon at 2:00 sharp (the bell in the clock tower announces their arrival on the last “gong”), pages bring out buckets of corn and other feed and scatter it, and literally tens of thousands of pigeons swoop into the area. There is a mad thrashing as they eat up every grain and then quickly fly away – to come back on the morrow. But, watch where you step!


I spent much time exploring and photographing castles and other historic places. I went to an Army electronics school south of Munich in a little town (Lenggries) that was at the foot of the Alps (which touches 7 countries!) ! Every afternoon after class I went up the ski-lift and was swept away up the side of the +10,000 foot mountain. The scenery was gorgeous, just like that of the opening scenes of the film “The Sound of Music”.

Strangely, ALL the 1000’s of slides I made while in Europe mysteriously disappeared in my move to Florida. I hope they are stored in a box somewhere. And, I left my lederhosen in Bavaria.


I established several life-long friendships while in the Army. At least one of them was “in touch” regularly until he passed away a few years ago. You can read about Wesley in my bio; he was the dulcimer maker.


After the three years in the Army, I was “honorably” discharged with the permanent rank of Private! I went back home. I never did use the “G I Bill”  for education – you’ll understand why in the next section.

MY LIFE’S PROGRESSION – Part Three (click the pix to read more)

Following my discharge from the Army, I worked as a Dispatcher in the Town of Big Stone Gap, VA, Police Department. That lasted a little over a year. During this time I “found” my future wife, Teresa Brickey. After a courtship and engagement of one year (we were old-fashioned; we allowed time to “get acquainted” before we married, just to be sure (NO, we didn’t live together during that time – that was a “no-no”– and her dad had a shotgun)). We were married in 1962.

Six month before we married, I moved to Erwin, TN, another small town, and started work as Chief Engineer at a (the) radio station there. In the eighteen years at that job in Erwin, I stepped through the ranks up to Station Manager.

Erwin was the headquarters of the Clinchfield Railroad that carried only freight (no passenger cars), primarily coal, from the mines in SW Virginia and Kentucky to Spartanburg, SC. From there, other railroad lines carried it throughout the South.

Eventually, in the late ‘70s – early ‘80s the Clinchfield was sold to the Southern Systems and moved the Erwin offices and shops to Savannah, GA and Jacksonville, FL (the Clinchfield is now part of the CSX Rail System).  Plus, in the early ‘50s, four other major local employers shut down operations. That pretty much made Erwin a ghost town! But, creativity in the economic development people there started bringing in other diverse industries and today Erwin is making a good comeback.


Following marriage, we decided to wait a few years before starting a family. Teresa went to Cosmetology school and became a hair dresser, eventually owning two beauty shops. She was very talented and quite successful in that field.

Then we found out that we, medically, could not have children! So, we applied to adopt a child. In TN at the time, adoptions were done through a State agency. A year later we were bless with a little five-month-old girl whom we named Tracie. You can read her story at THIS site.

Over three years later, our naturally-born son, Marty, made his appearance, to the surprise of the doctors! But Marty has always been able to make things happen – even after his delivery!


During the years we spent in Erwin, we were involved with the Erwin Presbyterian Church. It was there that we experienced an enhanced relationship with the Lord. More on that later.


In 1978, I left the radio station; I felt that I had gone as far “up the ladder” that I could in that field, at that location. I went to the local telephone company as a Microwave Technician and spent nearly three years in that (well-paying) position. Then in 1982, I got a call to go to Florida!



MY LIFE’S PROGRESSION – Part Four (click the pix to read more)

At the time I was working at the telephone company, we visited Teresa’s sister who lived in St. Petersburg in Florida. The two girls had birthdays in October so we got together for a joint celebration. While there, I became interest in the local Christian TV station.

Months later (June), I started feeling an urge to move from the current job (I NEVER was known to be one who “job-jumped”; I was by nature a “long-timer” in work positions).  On a Friday I sent an application to that TV station. I received a phone call on the next Monday (yes, three days later!) and was told about an opening at their new “sister” station in Cocoa. I flew down, was interviewed and hired as Manager of Engineering, and I moved my family down.

Really, I didn’t want to live in Florida; I had never liked it. I didn’t like the heat, I didn’t like the sand (gardening was difficult), I didn’t like the flat lands (no mountains to look at!) – BUT, I felt this is where I should be. SO, I “agreed” with my family that I would go “temporarily”. That turned out to be 28 years!

After a year at the Christian TV station, I was hired at the Kennedy Space Center. For all the years that I was at the radio station in TN, I had wanted to get a job at NASA. That appeared to be an exciting thing to do. I applied several times but was turned down. NOW, years later, having forgotten that ambition, I was working there in communications, which later turned into computers! I was employed there until age 65 when I chose to retire after 19 years (2002) to work full-time in our ministry.


Many things happened in Florida; good and bad. Months after our arrival our 15-year-old daughter contracted cancer, and four months later, it was in remission. At age 18, cancer reappeared and, after a year of fighting it again, she passed away in July of 1986.

Teresa and I were ordained into the Gospel Ministry in 1995 and formed a ministry, KingsWay Christian Ministries. It was designed to be primarily a teaching ministry – not a church – where we conducted seminars, retreats, conventions and the like. It was successful over the years.

Still having a desire to live in the mountain, we explored the possibility of moving the Ministry back to the general area from which we had come (“- – – country out of the boy – – -“). For a number of years we looked in the areas in which we were familiar but really didn’t find anything (available) to use for what we wanted to do there. Then, someone suggested Waynesville, and the Maggie Valley area

– – – but, wait!  I cover that inthe next section!

MY LIFE’S PROGRESSION – Part Five (click the pix to read more)

In an effort to move our (KingsWay Christian Ministries) to the mountains of North Carolina, we spent time looking for a suitable place. For over 10 years we looked around but to no avail. Then someone suggested that we check out the Waynesville/Maggie Valley area in Western North Carolina, 40 miles west of Asheville.

We went there a number of times and looked around and it did look promising but still, nothing was available at those times. So, we decided to make a dramatic move to the area, for a year, to be in position to deeply explore all possibilities. Plus, by being there, we could establish a “footprint” to help get established and hopefully, accepted, by the people there.

We were making some progress but winter hit the area and we suffered through some “snow-ins”. In addition, Teresa and I had several ailments; colds, flu, etc. And, Teresa came down with the shingles! That pretty much stymied us for several months.


At Easter, we went to visit her mom, who lived two hours away in Virginia. While there she had excruciating pains in her abdomen. The next day she went to the doctor and after a series of tests, she was diagnosed with cancer. She had surgery in early May (about a week after Easter) and that removed the bulk of the cancer. However, a small percentage of it was “microscopic” and could not be removed by the surgeon.

It was a rare type of cancer that had no chemo treatment available. She tried what was available but that only made her sick. After 7 months of valiantly trying to overcome, she died in November of 2006. She was buried in Virginia. We had lots in the local cemetery there and she was buried beside our daughter who had died 20 years previously.

In addition, her insurance company found a loop-hole in her policy; they claimed “pre-existing condition” and refused to pay. I tried the legal route for a year but that was futile.


For the time, that ended our attempt at ministry in Waynesville!

After spending a month with her 86-year-old mother, I stored our furniture and other belongings and we both came to Florida; she to her other daughter’s home near Tampa and I returned to our former home in East Central Florida, that was now owned by our son, Marty.

Now on to Part Six – – – .