"rev. james russell ballard, 83, of fayetteville,
went home to be with the lord on monday, june 30, 2008,
at the princeton community hospital following a long illness.
born oct. 20, 1924, at cannelton, he was one of the 14 children
of the late william and molly maner ballard.
rev. ballard was ordained a minister of the baptist faith
at cotton hill baptist church.
over the past 25 years he pastored at
gentry, kaymoor, loop creek, and bethel baptist churches.
he was a man who truly loved and served the lord.
he was a graduate of montgomery high school
and attended appalachian bible college.
rev. ballard was a tech sergeant in world war II;
he participated in d-day at utah beach
and aided in the liberation of cherbourg, france.
he received two purple hearts, medals for valor,
and he served with the 79th infantry 313 division.
he was a coal miner and retired from cannelton industries
with 38 years of service and he was a member of the umwa..."
the article goes on to mention his wife of 62! years,
his 6 children,
and 3 great-grandchildren.
it's funny that when i was reading this
over and over after he died,
i kept thinking about how he told us kids
that he was shot while
saving a birds' nest
that had fallen out of a tree!
we would listen with wide eyes.
a purple heart for saving the baby birds!
and how he couldn't bend his knee.
because he didn't have a kneecap anymore.
(from saving the baby birds, of course!)
so he walked with a straight leg.
and all of his grandchildren would walk that way too.
because we wanted to be like him.
we still do.
thank you for everything, paw-paw.
more than you know.