Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Army Veteran Takes on a New Position -- as Church Pastor

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Army Veteran Takes on a New Position -- as Church Pastor

Article excerpt

Sixty-eight may seem like an unusual age to begin a new career, but for the Rev. George F. Herring Sr., the newly installed pastor at O'Neal Memorial Baptist Church off Florida A1A in the O'Neal community, it's just right.

The 20-year Army veteran says spending the last years of his retirement walking close to Jesus Christ as pastor to the small church he knew as a boy is where he wants to be. As a boy, he attended services at Mount Horab, his father's church.

"This has always been a part of my life," he said. "My father was a preacher in a little church about 15 miles down the road. I grew up in the church. Now, I'm going to be preaching until God calls me."

Although he was raised in a very religious home, Herring said the true miracle of God's love was revealed to him as a soldier during the Vietnam War when the Bible he kept in his pocket deflected a round of shrapnel from piercing his heart. As Herring's platoon of tunnel rats was moving through the jungle, their vehicle hit a mine.

"I can say without a doubt that the word of God will save you literally and spiritually," he said. "It saved me."

After he was hit, Herring awoke in a hospital glad to be alive and with all four limbs. Hospital personnel had spent most of the night pulling slivers of the Bible out of wounds in his arm.

"The chaplain told me he figured that I must be closer to God than most," Herring said. "The incident really increased my faith. It made me believe that our destiny is not in our hands."

Herring said he believes he survived the incident not only so he could come home to his wife Marge and their three children but also so that he could share the word of God. It's a story his new 12-person congregation wants to hear.

"We are all very excited to have him serve," said Glenda Jenkins, a long-time member of the little congregation. …

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