Category: Newsletter

Ira Hayes, An Arizona Pima Native, A Marine WWII Hero

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Ira Hayes was born into a Presbyterian Family in Sacaton, Arizona, on the Pima Indian Reservation south of Chandler, east of now I-10 in 1923. In 1942 Ira joined the Marines and became a paratrooper, graduating from Parachute Training School in November 1942.

After several assignments fighting the Japanese, he helped capture Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima. Ira was one of the six Marines that raised the Stars and Stripes on Mount Suribachi on February 28, 1945. An AP photographer took the photo of the flag raising which became one of the most published front cover photos on magazines during the war.

One of the six Marines was Harlon Black who was killed on Iwo Jima in March 1945. (Remember this for more details later in the story).

Ira and two flag raisers were sent to Washington D.C. per President Roosevelt to promote the sale of war bonds to help pay for the war. People would recognize Ira and, “Come on, let me buy you a drink”. For several years an Indian could not buy alcohol. Like many white people, they could not hold the spirits but that did not stop them from using alcohol.

Ira was discharged from active duty December 1, 1945 and returned to the Pima Reservation and attempted to lead a normal civilian life. “I kept getting hundreds of letters, people would drive through the reservation, walk up to me and ask, “Are you the Indian who raised the flag on Iwo Jima?”. So use your imagination for the next gesture.” Ira rarely spoke about the flag raising, but talked more about his service as a Marine with great pride. Ira was bothered mentally about his buddies that never made it back stateside alive.

Ira was disturbed that Harlon Block was misrepresented in the flag raising photo with another name. He walked and hitchhiked 1,300 miles to Weslaco, Texas from the Gila River Indian Community to Edward Block’s (Harlon’s father) farm to reveal the truth about their son. The Blocks were grateful for Ira’s efforts. They and Ira were instrumental in getting the mistake resolved by the Marine Corps in 1947.

In 1949 Ira appeared as himself in the Sands of Iwo Jima with John Wayne. After this, Ira was unable to hold a job for a long period as he had become an alcoholic. He was arrested 52 times for intoxication.

Over 100 years ago the Gila River Pima Reservation farmed with water from the Gila river, which comes from the Arizona eastern state line with New Mexico and flows into the Colorado near Yuma. White man constructed Coolidge Dam southeast of Globe in 1924-1928 and dried up the farms on the Gila reservation. The tribe raised hay and grain, selling it to the U.S. Army Cavalry for their horses. The tribe was fighting for water so they sent Ira to Washington D.C. to represent the tribe for water. According to the movie “The Outsider”, Ira got drunk and missed the water appointment. Returning to the reservation the tribe disowned him because he had let the tribe down. Then he ran for tribal council and lost.

Now some Johnson history. My father and I had a family small dairy. We had a radio in the milk barn. Every morning at 6:15, station KOY called the Arizona Highway Patrol, M.C.S.O. and Phoenix Police for a night’s action report. One night in January 1955, on it was cold in the open milk barn. So cold the cows should have produced milk-cicles from their teats instead of warm milk. The news come on that Ira Hayes was found dead from exposer on the cold night in the Gila Reservation. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sometime later, the surviving family members were sent to Arlington for the Memorial Day Services. Ira’s mother said, “This will be a better trip in warmer weather (May)”. Ira was buried February 2, 1955, and it was cold. “Ira did not like cold weather.”

I feel the movie title, “The Outsider” with Tony Curtis was a slap in the face for Ira’s survivors. Our church secretary, Kira, found about 20 pages on the life of Ira. Toward the end of the article on Ira’s life, the story dwells on his problem with alcohol and sometimes my mind drifts away from IRA, AS A MARINE HERO to the tribe’s “Outsider”. I look at the movie title meaning. Ira was a failure and was put outside of the tribe’s daily life. That is my opinion. Think about it.

In closing, I wrote this article about a Presbyterian family member, Arizona Native that served his country in World War II. For the surviving family members of Ira in both of the movies and the life story that Kira found on the computer, would it have been better not to make an issue of Ira’s alcohol problem?

The movie title “THE OUTSIDER”, leaves I my mind that Ira was socially disowned by the tribe. Even if it was true, what good does it do to list Ira’s faults. I would feel better to remember Ira as a WWII hero and not an alcoholic. And probably Ira’s family DID NOT need to be reminded of Ira’s downfall. That is my opinion. Think about it.

Ira, like thousands of other men and women, fought for the freedom that we enjoy. Many lost limbs or even their lives for the American people and it is appreciated today.

Categories: Newsletter

Congratulations

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Savannah Rodriguez, Carsyn Tupper and Megan O’Kelly were received into the church on Easter Sunday as our communicants class.

Categories: Newsletter

The Big Event

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The Presbyteries of Grand Canyon and de Cristo are proud to present our annual Big Event, Saturday, August 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Tucson. This day-long educational experience has 26 workshops from which to choose ranging from Empowering Servant Leadership to Clerk of session training to dealing with the Opioid Health Crisis to Effective Church Websites and many more! Choose 3 from the list and join fellow Presbyterians from both presbyteries in learning ways to enrich your Christian journey! Join us for worship and meet new friends from across the state. You can purchase a boxed lunch as a part of your $10 registration. For a complete list of workshops and to register, visit the Presbytery website at www.presbyterydecristo.org or www.pbygrandcanyon.org . Class size is limited, so register today to ensure you get your top choices! See you August 25 at St. Andrew’s PC, 7650 N Paseo Del Norte, Tucson. (And don’t forget to invite your friends!)

Click here to register

Link to list of Workshops can be found here

 

Categories: Newsletter

102 years and counting

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The church helped Lester Dray celebrate his 102nd birthday on July 22. As the highlight of the worship service Lester played some of his favorites: “I Come to the Garden Alone”, “Heavenly Sunshine” and as a tribute to his late wife, Sybil, “I’ll Be Loving You”. Lester’s daughter, Susan, and granddaugh- ter, Sadie (Sarah), were in town to honor Lester.

Sunday July 22nd, was a special day at P.P.C. Lester Dray made it special as he said goodbye to 101 years “young” and ushers in his 102nd birthday on July 23rd. Different hymns took the place of the regular readings that opened the worship service. Then Sadie Dawson (Sarah Dawson’s granddaughter) and a friend D’Shay sang a beautiful duet. Then

it was time for Lester to play the piano with a medley of different songs. His daughter, Susan, and granddaughter, Sadie, helped him to the piano.

Lester’s vision and hearing are failing, but that did not stop him from playing. There was no music in front of him and he kept colored glasses on so that gave it away that he was playing by ear and memory for maybe 10 minutes. With the health failures mentioned, Lester’s mind is still as sharp as a tack. Thank you Lester for being a part of the P.P.C. family.

After worship most the congregation went to the fellowship hall for the 102 birthday party of cake and five gallons of homemade ice cream. Maybe the crowd

hated to see the five gallons melt on a hot day because I got home with less than

one gallon of melted ice cream. That made me fell good that the crowd liked my “cooking” or freezing is a better word.

We are honored to have guests attend from France and Holland. Folks, what I am saying is this, It was a special day for all of us, for a special person. This does not happen every day. We’re honored with a reason for the season.

Thank you Lester for giving us the privilege to celebrate your special day. We love you and your family.

Categories: Newsletter

Session News

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The June Session meeting had more discussion than action. Sometimes we just need to talk and sleep on what we talked about.

Elder Shannon Langston has been training to be a Lay Pastor. She is planning to attend a Children’s’ Pastor Conference January 15-17, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. Total cost for the conference, hotel, and air fare is $2,500. Session approved giving Shannon some of the money from P.P.C. account. Other sources may be available for financial help later but any amount would be appreciated if one wants to help. She is representing P.P.C.

Approval was given to put Elders Mickey Gilsdorf and Larry Cary as signers on the VALIC account. The VALIC account is the money from the sale of the church manse about 25 years ago. Our pastor at the time wanted to purchase the house (manse) because upon retirement of a pastor, if they have lived in the church manse during the years of pastoring, they have no house.

The Pastor’s, Deacon’s, and all committee reports were received.

At the May Session meeting, Elder Linda Maxwell volunteered to chair the Memorial and Mission Disbursement Committee. I missed this in the May meeting. Thank you Linda for all you do for P.P.C.

Next Session meeting is July 9, 2018.
Ken Johnson
Clerk of Session

Categories: Newsletter

When the living is easy

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Several summers ago I read three monumental books which I commend to you for your summer reading.

The books were “Peter the Great”, “Catherine the Great”, and “Nicholas and Alexandra”.  I read them in anticipation of the Russian River Cruise that Barbara and I embarked upon in early June, 2014. Robert K. Massie, the author, writes history with such interest that one cannot put the books down.

“Peter the Great” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. One reviewer summed it up with the words, “Against the monumental canvas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe and Russia unfolds the magnificent story of Peter the Great, one of the most extraordinary rulers in history. Impetuous and stubborn, generous and cruel, tender and unforgiving, a man of enormous energy and complexity, Peter the Great is brought fully to life in this exceptional biography”. As Barbara and I walked the magnificent boulevards of St. Petersburg, we marveled at the tenacity and ingenuity of this ruler who raised one of the most beautiful cities in the world out of swamps and bogs.

 

Catherine the Great was the longest reigning female in the history of Russia. Reigning from 1762 to 1796, she brought the first works of art into the Hermitage, which was then the winter palace. Catherine’s reign was marked by vast territorial expansion, which greatly added to Russia’s coffers but did little to alleviate the suffering of her people. Even her attempts at governmental reforms were often bogged down by Russia’s vast bureaucracy. However, Catherine considered herself to be one of Europe’s most enlightened rulers, and many historians agree. She wrote numerous books, pamphlets and educational materials aimed at improving Russia’s education system. She was also a champion of the arts, keeping up a lifelong correspondence with Voltaire and other prominent minds of the era, creating one of the world’s most impressive art collections
in St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace (now home to the famed Hermitage Museum) and even trying her hand at composing opera. (A postscript: if you have Amazon streaming video watch “Ekaterina: The Rise of Catherine the Great”.)

One of my personal highlights on our trip was to visit Catherine’s Palace. Terribly damaged by Nazi shelling in World War II, it has now been restored to its original splendor.  In his commanding book, “Nicolas and Alexendra”, Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs’ lives: Nicholas’s political naïveté,

Alexandra’s obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis’s brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie un- folds a powerful drama of passion and history. The story of a doomed empire and the death- marked royals who watched it crumble.

One caveat: the books are long, over 800 pages each. It took me four months to read all three. But I can tell you, it’s worth every minute of your time

 

Categories: Newsletter

News from the Deacons

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Our prayer chain has lost a link and we need help in fixing it

Deacons are updating the prayer chain. If you are not receiving an E-mail from June Schooley or a phone call concerning prayer needs and want to be on the prayer chain, please contact Dot Bell or Carol Spiegelhoff . We also need volunteers to call 4 or 5 people who don’t have emails.

Categories: Newsletter

HART Pantry

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HART PANTRY wishes to Thank all of you for your continued support, both financial contributions and in kind donations. HART is ending another school year with approximately 25 graduates from the kiddos we have been helping in 2017/2018. Thank you to June Schooley for donating handmade graduation cards to hold our gift cards for the graduates. Our gift is again going to be matched by one of our Sun City church partners. We continue to work in all three local school districts until the end of school and then will keep food bags at the Peoria Community Center throughout the summer months for those students in need.

We have increased our volunteer staff to over 30 folks and with the help of Barb Tiberi now have both a Facebook page and a WEB site. We are working in 2018 to strengthen our Board of Directors and take our business records online making us more efficient. We hope to purchase new laptop computers for those staff members involved in keeping financials and inventory so all records will be kept in house.

We are aware that the needs of and numbers of At-Risk and homeless teens continue to grow in our local society and we also know that HART PANTRY cannot step up to those needs without the continuing help of our donors. We appreciate all of you who find it in your hearts to help us help the kiddos.

Happy Summer,

Ruth Langford

HART PANTRY

Categories: Newsletter

Preschool News

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May is underway here at the preschool. We have a busy month planned for the kiddos. Mother’s Day and graduation are just a couple of our upcoming events. This month we will be focusing on spring time, Moms and how important a Mother’s love is. The students are enjoying learning some new songs at chapel time and reading new stories.

Picture day will be April 25, 2018 at 9:00 am. Children should be dressed in their best with a big smile. Graduates will take pictures in their caps and gowns as well.

Graduation is May 23rd at 10:00 am in the Sanctuary. We will have light refreshments in fellowship hall afterwards! All are welcome to join in this great celebration.

Muffins for Moms will be held on May 8, 2018. We will be having a special treat for our moms and grandmas during drop off time to let our moms know how special they are to us.

Categories: Newsletter

Langfords Receive Senior Service Award

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Dick and Ruth Langford were nominated by the Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Peoria for the Senior Service Award of the Presbytery of the Grand Canyon on April 12, 2018. Terry and Barbara Swicegood, as well as the Langford’s daughter, Cassie, were present for the occasion. The citation for the Langfords read as following:

“If you have visited First Presbyterian in downtown Peoria, you have probably been stunned by the immaculate yard and historic building. Dick has played a role in that loving care as chair of Building Grounds while in Session. Ruth is on her second term as Deacon and serves as Executive Director of HART pantry, a mission project of Peoria First that provides weekend meals for high school students without food. At back to school time, Ruth is busy with providing backpacks for school children through HART pantry. Dick has served as treasurer of the Chris Harri Foundation, a financial fund to help area churches and drives for Northwest Valley Connect. They both faithfully prepare communion trays each month at church.”

Categories: Newsletter