Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hole in the heart of Halls

Well, I spared the Beaver Dam Baptist Church senior citizens from hearing my usual $1.98 vaudeville routine tonight.

They had heard it before and anyway I wanted to share some tidbits from my research into the history of my native Halls community and more importantly pay homage to one of its finest citizens, Mr. Sam Hardman, who passed away Friday at the age of 95.

It would take the talent of Shakespeare to capture Sam's story. He served his country in World War II and ended up in Halls because his company found a job for him in Knoxville when he returned home.

Sam had one of the great final acts of any human being I know. After his wife died -- when he was 80 years old -- Sam decided to give back to his community. He said sitting around and being sad was no way to live.

Each morning, he'd drive to Kroger and buy expiring bread and other items to take to the Halls Food Pantry. He became the ambassador for HonorAir Knoxville, the organization that flies World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington to see their memorials. He was active in American Legion Post # 2. He was a spokesperson for the Woodmen of the World. He is a former Halls Man of the Year. There's no way I can list all of his accomplishments here.

Sam was so busy, even his family had to make appointments in order to see him. And I think that added 15 years to his life.

But, most of all, Sam was a sweet, super human being. I never saw him without a smile. If you talked to Sam for about 30 seconds, you and he were no longer strangers.

Perhaps E.B. Hunter said it best:

"If there were more Sam Hardmans, this world would be a much better place."

There's a hole in the heart of Halls this week.

For more information on HonorAir Knoxville, visit this website.

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