Open Forum: At 83

Posted: July 19, 2013

My dad is not a large man by any means. In fact, some say he is short. However, when he walks into a room, his shoulders are square and his head held high. He never demands respect, but rather with love and honesty, the respect just naturally follows.

He has gone by many names and titles: son, brother, uncle, husband, dad, Papo, Granddad, reverend, the Rev., and Rev. Chuckie.

Daddy is a humble man, serving the Lord, his church, and his family, in that order. As his daughter, when I was young, I found it hard to share my dad. He was often called out on holidays and birthdays to sit with the dying, give communion, visit the sick, or welcome someone’s new baby. But as I aged and began focusing less on myself and more on those in need, I came to understand his true calling.

My dad has pastored many churches in Winchester and the surrounding area. He has also served many other churches throughout Virginia. I truly believe he is never happier than when he is doing God’s work.

As the years passed, dad baptized new babies, received them as young teens into the church, later held their weddings, welcomed their babies, and, in some cases, laid them to rest. I’ve watched my dad bow his head in prayer in a hospital hallway as he waits for information on the sick or dying.

He has touched so many lives during happy and sad times. His life has not always been easy, but he seems to get through by focusing not on his own troubles, but on those of others.

It would be wrong to write about this man and not include his family. Married to my mom Nelda for more than 60 years, they loved and raised me and my three brothers. We never wondered if we were loved; we knew we were. He felt as strongly about his family as he did about the Lord. We could have never found a better dad to raise, support, and love us.

Happy Birthday, Dad. May the Lord bless you and keep you in his care this day and always.

Dawna H. Wilson is a resident of Frederick County.