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January 27 , 2011

A Shot of Jack Daniels


Under any description of the start of my life, the odds were against me. With the untimely death of my mother at age 31 in September and the suicide of my father on the following Christmas Day, I was orphaned at the age of two along with six siblings. Through the efforts of a Methodist pastor, we were placed in the Methodist Orphans Home in Waco, Texas on January 21, 1937.This is the story of my life and how I was able to overcome those gigantic odds. Who would believe that the two-year-old orphan boy would later serve for the last twenty-five years of his career as the President/CEO of the agency that rescued him and his six siblings?The journey from orphan boy to President took many twists and turns. Stages on this journey included growing up in an unusual setting of 400 children, pursuit of a solid education, life as a church pastor, administrator of three child care agencies, establishing a successful family, and a return as President to where it all started.This journey unfolds through many unusual stories and experiences ranging from humorous events to dealing with some very important and traumatic situations.History and special traditions play an important role at Methodist Home. I was a student at the time of the 50th anniversary, an employee at the 75th anniversary and President/CEO at the 100th anniversary. A cherished memory of the 100th anniversary was the honor of hosting Mrs. Barbara Bush as our guest speaker. I recall sitting in our den at home with my wife and our children reflecting on the occasion and saying, "Only in America can an East Texas farm girl and an orphan boy entertain the president's wife."The most unique experience of my entire life was my role in a very significant historical event that I have written about as "The Branch Davidian Incident." This event captured the news world-wide February 28 through the end of April in 1993. My involvement of taking the lead in caring for the 21 children released from the Davidian compound gave me the opportunity of being on the inside of many activitiesunknown to even the most interested in this event.This part of my story will reveal the inner workings of caring for the children, relationships with law enforcement at all levels, and working with the local, national, and international news media.Another traumatic experience I had dealt with what became known as "Waco's Triple Murders." Two of the three young people murdered were former Methodist Home students.
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