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KellyGram – My Friend David Ray Hubbard

 

 

In my 42+ years of being a lawyer here in Columbia, I’ve only lived in 2 houses—my starter home at 1801 Belmont Drive and, after 19 years, my current residence. I was a baby lawyer and excited about my future, and moving to Belmont Drive was the perfect way to start my career! The neighborhood had a small mix of young professionals and a whole bunch of mature Columbians who mentored me and guided me throughout my early adult years. At night we would just mingle around the neighborhood and visit.

I had many awesome neighbors, but I was particularly fond of Mr. David Ray Hubbard and his wife, Ann. David and I have maintained our friendship over the many years, and I had the privilege on Wednesday of attending a special ceremony at which the leadership brass of Fort Gordon honored and thanked David for his donation of 500 handcrafted wooden crosses to be distributed to service members during the COVID-19 pandemic. The officers praised David for inspiring hundreds of men and women and recounted his unbelievable story for the 30 people (who were socially distanced and appropriately masked!) under his carport. David was a young intern at the FBI when WWII started, and he quickly enlisted in the US Army, where he eventually found himself working the back-end of the Normandy D-Day Invasion. The commanding officers of Fort Gordon reminded the attendees that without the back office, the frontlines—or the “tip of the sword” as they called it—would never have been successful.

After discharge, David returned to a civilian career in Columbia, and upon his retirement, he became a master craftsman and self-taught mechanical engineer. At age 97½, my friend, now a widower, still lives on his own, still (believe it or not!) has a driver’s license, and still keeps busy in his woodworking shop crafting beautiful pieces. He was overwhelmed by this honor presented to him, and at the end of the program, he was asked to say a few words. His remarks were characteristically humble and appreciative, and he concluded with an announcement that he has been working in his shop and had a gift for us! He gave each of us a handcrafted cutting board and cross, and I will cherish mine forever!

God bless the United States of America, and God bless David Hubbard!

Sincerely,

 

Mike Kelly

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