“Will you pray with me?”
Lou Hallett could be counted on to utter those five words each Veterans Day, Memorial Day and wherever else the Seymour man gathered with other U.S. military veterans.
Not so this weekend. Not so this Veterans Day.
Jackson County veterans — and their families — lost a good friend early Friday with the death of Louis Edward Hallett.
Lou, as most everyone knew him, died at the age of 80 at his Seymour home. He served as the chaplain for many years with American Legion Post 89 and was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925 in Seymour.
He also more recently kept the American Legion Honor Guard on the move. It performs funeral services to honor local veterans.
One such funeral detail will take place today for Lou, when he’s buried at Riverview Cemetery. His funeral is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Voss Chapel. Calling starts at noon today.
Lou always started his prayers with veterans and their families with those five, simple words — “Will you pray with me?”
He attended Legion programs and community ceremonies such as the Flag Day celebration and Memorial Day and Veterans Day services as chaplain for the past 28 years.
That’s a lot of invitations to pray. They all started in 1984.
“It’s like this. My second wife and I went to the Legion for a dinner, and the commander, Herb Woodard, asked me if I’d read the Legion prayer to say grace,” Lou said in June 2010. “I did. Then Herb came up and asked me if I’d like to be the chaplain. Ask and ye shall receive, I guess.”
He’s been inviting people to pray with him ever since.
“It’s honorable and satisfying,” Lou said of why he’s continued to serve as post chaplain, a job he’s had longer than he served with the U.S. Army. He retired from the Army in 1973 after 21 years of service, including combat tours during the Korean War and in Thailand during the Vietnam War. He reached the rank of staff sergeant E/6.
Lou said he felt honored to help people pay respects to soldiers who fell in battle and honor those who served and survived.
“You have to pray for the dead at Memorial Day. You pray at Flag Day for those people who fought for and honor it, and you pray for all who served on Veterans Day,” Lou said.
It seems fitting that Lou will be buried today, Veterans Day. Let’s hope someone asks us to pray with them on Lou’s behalf.
Dan Davis is editor of The Tribune. You may reach him by phone at 523-7051 or by email at email@example.com.
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