|Uncle Nathan, Pops, Dad (taken by Kenneth Hodges)|
My grandpa, Clint Hines, is my hero. I call him Pops. He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest men alive. He has had a long, rich life, full of surprises good and bad. The way he's handled these surprises is one of the things that makes him a great man.
Pops, the older of a pair of fraternal twins born in Pineland, served as a young adult in the Korean War in an Air Rescue Squadron. During one mission, his flight crashed in the Yellow Sea as he and his crew members were going to rescue a pilot who had been shot down. They were stranded for eight hours doing the dead man's float in the ocean. My grandpa led the men in prayer the whole time as the sharks circled them. The way he handled this unexpected event helped keep his men calm in a terrifying situation. Maybe this is why Pops soon felt God calling him to be a preacher and pastor. He has pastored churches almost non-stop since that time.
In 1958, Pops married a beautiful girl from Woodville named Betty, and a few years later, he felt a calling to open a nursing home. Even though the calling was a surprise, he saw it as his ministry, along with being a pastor. So he and Betty, my Maw Maw, spent everything they had and built Shady Acres Health Care Center in Newton. They were determined to take care of people no one else cared about, and that's exactly what they did from 1965 to the present... and it's still going.
In 1975 Pops had the most challenging surprise of all: Maw Maw developed Rheumatoid Arthritis that eventually killed her in 1994. During those eighteen years, Pops did everything imaginable to look for a cure. They tried every type of alternative medicine and even went to Switzerland to an experimental clinic. All the while Pops and Maw Maw maintained the nursing home, and Pops kept pastoring a church while he gave 24 hour care to his ailing wife. No one can understand how he gave 100% to all those things, but that's just the kind of person he is.
If you were to ask Pops how to get through difficult times like he has, he would say, "Trust God and be good to people." Lots of others might give this advice too, but the thing about Pops is that he really does it. He doesn't get upset when things go wrong because he knows God is with him. Instead he does the best he can, and everyone around can see how humble, stable, and kind Pops is. He would never see himself as one of the greatest men who ever lived, but I see him that way and that's why he's my hero.