Brig. Gen. Lawarence Dale Hoover Jr, born November 19, 1929 and reported to duty at Heaven’s Gates on October 13, 2017. A hero that impacted my personal journey and left a deep footprint in my heart. Attached is a ‘short list’ of his achievements in the military. The officer labored to read the full list at his Final Salute on October 17, at the War Memorial located in Amarillo, TX.
Gen. Hoover rose from a Private to Sergant, went to college at South Western Oklahoma State University located in Weatherford, Oklahoma where he received his Doctrate in Pharmacy. Then his military took on the role of an officer, where he made the rank of Brigidare General before he retired.
Gen. Hoover fought in four wars, including his service in the Green Beret and continued to recruit for West Point until just a few years before his death.
While Gen Hoover maintained his uniqueness, never swayed by people’s opinion of him, he was always an ‘officer and a gentleman’. The first time I met him, we were at a Christian Motorcycle Association cookout at a member’s backyard. He dressed in ‘short’ wind shorts, a tank top, a camouflaged bandanna and roper boots. I could not believe he was what people told me. This uniqueness gave him boldness to share the Gospel, no matter what people would think.
His “warrior heart” not only stood out in the military, but in his battle against alcohol. A paratrooper in charge of his men’s safety, he always checked the airplane outside for obstacles before allowing his men to jump. One night after a lengthy campaign, he checked himself into his tent with a quart of wiskey. Early the next morning he was awaken with the command to give a demonstration of his men jumping. Coffee sobered him up, until the elevation activated the intoxication. When he leaned out to check the plane, he fell to the ground. Gen Hoover found himself in front of a company of Green Beret, where he was stripped of his stripes and his Beret. Humiliated, he checked himself in to an AA Support Group, where he beat the enemy of alcohol. Then took up that fight to help many men and women beat this vicious, addictive and destructive enemy.
HIs fight against evil took him to those ‘behind the wire’ joining Bill Glass Prison Ministry team. There he discovered the opportunity to share his faith in Christ increased if he rode a motorcycle on the yard. Therefore, he purchased a Harley Davidson, which he dropped two times before he got it off the parking lot. This warrior for the King, not just the USA, conquered the art of riding. He and I shared the road, motel rooms and ministry on many occasions. Gen. Hoover was a man who did not ‘wait’ until he arrived at the prison to share his faith, the whole trip was filled with him asking people if he could bless them, followed by the question, ‘do you know how to get through the gate?’. Then he would share with them the importance of entering the narrow gate, receiving Christ and then challenged to live by the Ten Commandments.
His voice, which age had made soft and raspy, was still commanding when he was in the General mode. One of the first times he spoke to me as a General, I had just joined the family of motorcycle ministers. Being a Senior Pastor, it was my desire to just serve in the background. Christian Heritage Church hosted a big group of motorcycles passing through which found me staying in the background, just serving. The next day Gen Hoover asked, ‘where were you and what were you doing?’. When he discovered my intent was to ‘just serve’, I can still hear his raspy command, ‘you allowed a man who did not represent the Lord or the church well on the television news. You are a leader, lead!’. He never had to remind me, it has been a guiding light many times when hiding behind the mask of serving, the General’s voice sounds in my ear, ‘you are a leader, lead’.
During the “Final Roll Call” standing by the casket at the War Memorial site, the veterans were called to attention, then names called out. The men would yell, ‘present and accounted for sir’! They called his name three times, then a veteran yelled out, ‘Sir, Gen Dale Hoover is not present, he has reported for duty at Heaven’s Gates. He has made his last trip, Sir.’ While tears ran, all I could see was a National and Spiritual Hero standing at the gate with a salute to the King of Kings, we will all miss Gen Hoover and the world will suffer. However, it is my hope to be as close to him as I can get during the battle at the end of the age because this man knows how to fight an adversary, no matter it’s dress or size.