The Back Pew - March 2021

Submitted: Ernie Isbell, VLOA Chaplin



The Chaplain’s Corner.”

We moved to my hometown of Paducah, TX last November in order to get away from the problems facing the Dallas/Fort Worth area in view of the Covid epidemic. Paducah is a small, rural, farming and ranching community of a little over 1100 population, positioned at the eastern edge of the Texas Panhandle, midway between Wichita Falls and Lubbock.

When I was born here in 1941 the population was around 3600 and it was a vibrant town, with lots of happenings, three grocery stores, at least six car dealerships, lots of churches, good schools, several doctors, two dentists, and a JC Penney store. In short it was a great place to grow up. My older brother Bob, and I, were allowed to hunt birds and rabbits with our shotguns and .22 caliber rifles by ourselves, without adult supervision, starting at age seven for me and nine for him. Both of us were expert marksmen and when I entered the Army I qualified expert with every weapon that I was trained with while in basic training.

As the expression says, we all get older and things change. Life, Covid, aging, children, Viet Nam, etc, etc. bring each of us to where we are today. My hometown has changed and I’m sure yours has changed as well. For good or bad, change is a constant in our lives.

We can have things as they are and wish they were better. Or we can count our blessings and MAKE things better in any way we can. Linda and I noticed that Paducah has more than its share of indigent citizens, old and not so old. We discussed this situation and decided that since we have been blessed with success in our live’s we could we make a difference in others lives. We approached the local grocery store owner and arranged for both Thanksgiving and Christmas that he and his staff provide complete grocery supplies for twenty families so that these families could have a nice holiday meal at no expense to the family. Afterwards, when I paid the bill, I asked the manager how this action was received. He and his staff stated that it was one of the better things they had participated in all year.

We wished to remain anonymous for this effort, but I’m sharing this information with each of you as an example of how any of us can help our fellow citizens. The needs of our fellow citizens are not restricted to the annual holiday season. Especially now, during this terrible pandemic, I urge each of you to look about and find a way to make a difference in someone’s life.

May God bless you and keep you safe.

Ernie Isbell, 


What can the Chaplain do for me?

My primary job as Chaplain of the V. L. O. A. is to conduct the Sunday morning worship service at our reunions. In addition, should you have the need to talk with someone who has "been there, done that," I am available to listen.




Outlaws Devotional - February 2021



Pain Is Not Forever


2 Timothy 2:3

Accept your share of suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.


About 11 years ago, I began having pain in my shoulders that grew progressively worse as the months past.  Along with the shoulder pain, pain began building in my hips and soon matched the level of shoulder pain.  Surely this was just the process of aging, and would soon subside and go away.  Over the counter medication helped marginally, but wasn’t enough to divert my mental concentration on the pain. Finally, the pain progressed to the point that it limited my ability to function well, especially in getting dressed and caring for myself. 


It became clear the pain was not going away by itself.  Over the next four months, I was evaluated by two general practioners, a neurologist, and an orthopedic surgeon, none of which could identify the source of the pain even after an MRI, two CT scans, two sonograms, and numerous blood tests, but all had their own solution to mollifying the pain.  Finally, my wife said that both of us had had enough of the pain, and found a rheumatologist who gave me an emergency appointment.  He reviewed all the medical information, and diagnosed the problem as polymyalgia rheumatica.  Prescribed medication relieved the cause of the pain in less than a month, but weaning me off the medication took another 11 months.


One night during the midst of my pain, I realized that my pain was insignificant compared to the pain and suffering Jesus Christ experienced during the 24 hours leading up to dying on the cross. We should never forget the earthly, physical pain Jesus felt in giving his life in atonement for our sins.

Submitted by Frank Estes



Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American G.I.  One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

      Source Unknown


Standing Prayer Request:

While most Prayer Requests will remain on the page for 30 days, here is a request that will remain as long as we have uniformed men and women stationed abroad. Please repeat this short prayer often and ask you friends and family to include it in their daily prayers:
Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless
acts they perform for us in our time of need.
I ask this in the name of Jesus,
our Lord and Savior.   Amen.

Prayer Requests: (as of 03/29/2021)

James V. Hardbeck 

DECEMBER 17, 1944 - MARCH 15, 2021


James Vernon Hardbeck passed away Monday, March 15, 2021 at his care center in Cumming, GA. He had been battling complications from a severe head injury sustained in the summer of 2020.

Born in Spartanburg, SC on December 17, 1944, he was the son of Vernon and Lois Hardbeck and brother of John Hardbeck. He spent much of his formative years near Charlotte, NC and it is there where he met the love of his life, Pat. They were married in Germany on January 31, 1969. Due to his service with the Army, they were able to travel and live in many places, finally settling down in Savannah, GA while Jim was with Aviation Safety at Hunter Army Airfield. It was Savannah that they would call home and raise their son Christopher.

Jim was an accomplished pilot in the Army who flew several tours in the Vietnam War. He flew for A Company 502nd Aviation Regiment (1965 - 1966), 175th Assault Helicopter Company (1967 - 1968), and 7th Squadron / 1st Air Cavalry Regiment (1969 - 1970). Among his many honors bestowed were the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Purple Heart Medal. He went on the serve and fly in the GA Army National Guard and later retired as Chief Warrant Officer - 4.

Jim had many passions. He loved to catch sunrises at the beach as much as he loved to get away to go camping in the Smoky Mountains. He was an avid fan of Tar Heel basketball and UGA football and he certainly did not take losing well. He preferred cars that could go fast and the open roads that could handle them. His dachshunds always brought a smile to his face and pride in his heart. But, nothing compared to his love of aviation. He always said he was more comfortable in the skies than he was on the ground.

Mr. Hardbeck is survived by his son Chris, his daughter-in-law Sheri, and his three grandchildren Evan, Ansley, and Avery. He was preceded in death by his father Vernon, brother John, mother Lois, and wife Pat.

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, March 27th. It will be conducted by The Reverend John Haney and will be in the Greenwich section of Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA.