Today, I celebrate the lives of two men I was privileged to call “friend.”
The first is Charles Victor (Vic) Grinolds, a Viet Nam and Desert Storm veteran. Vic served in the Air Force. He also served the very first church I pastored as a deacon and trustee.
Vic was a man with a slight build and a gigantic personality. Never mind asking him how he was because he was always “finer than frog’s hair.” He was also fiercely loyal and quick to leap to your side when the heat was on.
His daughter Dawn Grinolds asked Facebook friends to share their favorite memory of her Dad. Mine was the day the chips were down and the wolves were closing in on a young, mistake-prone, embattled preacher. Vic stood in my living room, trembling with anger, fists doubled, ready to fight for his preacher.
The other is Wade Evan
I met Wade Evans much later in life – in Canada, where I had gone to work as an adjuster on a hail storm and he was the storm manager. Turned out, we were both from the DFW area.
Wade was a character – a caricature, a cartoon-like character. He was bombastic, bold, and big-hearted. He could cuss a blue streak but he always caught himself halfway through when he remembered my background as a preacher. He would sincerely apologize. A few minutes later, he might be cussing again.
I loved Wade.
Maybe my favorite moment with him was during orientation when he was telling us that, despite being on a handsome “day rate” for pay, we were expected to produce, to close a reasonable number of claims per day. Some half-wit Canadian adjuster asked a dumb question, trying to see if he could get away with sand-bagging. Wade’s response was epic. I am only slightly paraphrasing due to the fact that it was eight or so years ago. Wade’s answer:
“This is TD Insurance. These people don’t know shit about insurance. They are bankers. But they can (blanking) divide!”
I never laughed more heartily than I did right then. I knew I was going to love that dude.
This morning, I looked up his obituary in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Here is a portion of it:
Wade joined the U.S. Army in January of 1966 and served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a paratrooper and a LRRP (long range reconnaissance patrol) team leader. While serving in Vietnam, he was wounded and exposed to agent orange, which eventually led to his 100% service-connected disability. Wade served in the following military units: Headquarters Troup 1st of 10th Cavalry, Long Range Reconnaissance, 4th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade 1st Platoon, 82nd Airborne Division. Wade was honored to be a member of the armed services and was proud of his contribution. His passing on Pearl Harbor Day was fitting.
God bless Vic Grinolds. God bless Wade Evans. God blessed America with men like this by the tens of thousands. Tough-as-nails, hard-fisted, raw-boned, fearless warriors, but with hearts of gold. God blessed me with the friendship of two of the best. Their history may never be recorded in books or studied on campuses. But they are written on the fleshy tablets of the hearts and etched in the memories of the fortunate few who knew and loved them. May we ever be better for having known them.
God bless all the Vics and Wades that made America great. God bless you…and God bless America.