Honoring a Hero

Last week I had the privilege to officiate the funeral of a hero.  Not many people knew that but this 91 year old man had made an eternal impact in the lives of his fellow marines and others who came across his path.  He fought in World War II in three major battles in the Pacific, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and one other.  At one time, when a fellow Marine was hit, who was carrying the tripod for the machine gun, he left the safety of the sea wall, went out and dived in the water several times to recover the tripod.  He did this even though bullets were hitting all around him.

He was known as “Deacon” among his fellow Marines and said prayers over his fellow marines and assisted in funerals. He was certainly a light for the Lord in war time.  He made an eternal impact on the lives of those who knew him.  And when he came home he would later served on the Board of Trustees at Toccoa Falls College for 41 plus years. Roy was a humble man, not seeking the glory but seeking to serve the Lord in everything he did.  He was always looking to serve others and serve the Lord.

Roy was the first student to leave Toccoa Falls College after Pearl Harbor was bombed.  He would go into the Marines as a private and retire at the rank of Major.  He was a Marine to the end and I really appreciated the honor the Marine Corps gave to him at the graveside with full military honors.  When the gun salute was given and then Taps I could see the Marines cared for this man and his contribution to the Corps.

Few people attended the funeral and burial.   But that is not his reward.  His reward came a bit earlier when his eyes opened in heaven and the Lord said to him, “Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant, Welcome Home.”  It reminds me of the statement of R.A. Jaffray, a great missionary who opened Indo-China for the gospel, when, at the end of his life he penned these words, “One day your work here on earth will be finished, your feet will cross the last mountain, climb the last trail, reach the last person.  Then Jesus Himself will say, ‘you did a good job, you were faithful in your work for me, nothing else really matters.'”

Major Roy Thaxton was faithful in his work for the Lord.  And today he is with His Lord rejoicing in all the blessings of heaven.  He is with the Lord he loved and served.  May this be said of each of us.

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President Emeritus Toccoa Falls College

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