Roger Alford

I

 laughed when I heard about the inmate who tunneled out of jail and came up across the street in a children’s playground.

That inmate popped his head up through the ground and shouted, “I’m free. I’m free.”

A little boy on the monkey bars looked at him and said, “Big deal. I’m four.”

That goes to show some people aren’t easily impressed. Not so for me. I was beyond impressed when I heard the story about a day in the life of Earl “Quick Draw” Adams, a decorated World War II veteran from Barbourville, Kentucky. The story was related by Jack Sellards, a long-time Barbourville resident and a well-known speaker for Gideons International, the organization of Christian businessmen.

Sellards was leading a Bible study in the local jail when he saw Earl, a bona fide war hero with the medals and ribbons to prove it, sitting among the inmates, listening to his Gospel presentation.

“Tears streamed down Earl’s face during the service,” Sellards recalled. “A few days later, Earl came to our place of business. When he saw the flag waving in front of the store, Earl clicked his heels together and saluted the flag.”

Earl walked in. He and Jack began a conversation that quickly moved to a discussion of things eternal.

”’Earl, have you ever been saved?” Jack asked.

“No.”

“Earl, would you like to be saved?” 

“When?” Earl asked.

“How about right now?” Jack replied.

Tears splatted on the floor as Earl prayed the sinner’s prayer.

A few days later, Earl died.

Earl is remembered as a brave soldier who had fought his way across Europe. He had survived the Battle of the Bulge, the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the U.S. in WWII. Some 19,000 Americans were killed in that battle, many of them Earl’s friends.

Yes, I’m impressed with Earl’s story. His is a story of heroism, of a man who had lived with nightmarish memories from the front lines, of a good-natured man who, back home in Barbourville, would often pretend a quick draw when he met friends on the streets.

But I’m totally impressed that, just in the nick of time, Quick Draw made the most important decision of his life.

Reach Roger Alford at 502-514-6857 or email at rogeralford1@gmail.com.

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