Warren Cornell — I’ve know him most of my life, and I’m afraid I have taken him for granted. So today, he is my hero for the day.
He started his career in 1966 in the Army Reserves and then was called to Korea, where he served after the war, and then he served in Vietnam. He had entered the service as a private in the Reserves. By the time he went to Vietnam, where he served most of his time in Saigon, he was a captain.
When he retired from the Army, he was a lieutentant colonel. He served in Washington, D.C., in several capacities, including with the United Nations command.
He met his wife, Louise, at Hopkinsville’s old Crystal swimming pool in 1955. They have been married well over 50 years. They’ve done many things together, including the underwriting of the chapel at Christian Care Communities, and they are going to be underwriting the new teen center at the Boys and Girls Club.
When Warren got out of the Army, he did various things. He worked for Habitat for Humanity. Anything that had his name on it was quality.
His greatest love has been First United Methodist Church. He knows every inch of that church. It is a cathedral-type church with very high ceilings. He and a group of men actually hung new chandeliers there.
He has inspected every inch of the church from the ground floor to the highest level and was very happy when the church was cleaned and the building was improved.
He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Cornell, and there were eight children in the family. They lived across the road from us when I was growing up. I was as an only child, so I was amazed at the cooking Mrs. Cornell had to do every day.
“She loved company, and never had too much,” he said. “Daddy seemed like he was always in motion. He seemed like he took four feet every step, and it was awful hard to keep up with him.”
But Warren grew up just like his daddy. He is busy all the time.
For instance, after his retirement, he and his wife bought a farm in North Christian, where they still live. There, he raised tobacco and had gardens, selling produce at the mall farmers market.
So with the Army and church and the gardens and the tobacco and all the things he’s done, he is just like his daddy, busy all the time.
He isn’t able to go to church now. He is on oxygen 24-7.
“It was a combination of a lot of things, including dust and chemicals, and as I got older, it took its toll,” he said.
But as frail as he is today, he is still looking to the future. He is excited about the Boys and Girls Club, and he said the church someday will have a new foundation, making it more earthquake-resistant. This will include the bell tower, which is not in use presently because of a crack in the foundation.
He’s always looking ahead, primarily where the church is concerned, even though he cannot attend services.
To this man of much energy and interests in civic and church projects, a builder, a veteran, we say, Warren Cornell, you are our hero of the day.
MARY D. FERGUSON transcribed this column to New Era Opinion Editor Jennifer P. Brown. Ferguson receives mail at 4345 Pembroke Road, Hopkinsville, KY 42240. Send email to email@example.com.