Wallace Holmer, 96, said a simple prayer, “Lord, I don’t want to come home with my arms and legs blown off.” The 18 year old draftee entered the Navy in 1943 and found himself stationed on an LST, a Landing Ship Tank. It’s purpose, to drop soldiers and machines of war onto enemy beaches. A slow and easy target. But Wally’s prayers were answered when the LST he was assigned to trained Naval sailors for combat, and based out of Norfolk, Virginia. He never saw one day of action. A fact he is grateful for.

On August 9, 1945, an American B-29 dropped the atomic bomb, Fat Man, onto the industrial valley of Nagasaki, killing up to 80,000 people. Japan formally surrendered September 2, 1945, and only 75 days after the blast, a young Wally walked into the remains of Nagasaki. “There was nothing left, no buildings, no people, nothing. Just the crackle of broken glass under my feet,” he recalls.

Wally came home, left the Navy, and attended Bible school in Eugene, Oregon. But shortly after he saw a sign for a barber school and decided to take up the career. He now lives in Sisters, Oregon, stills cuts hair twice a month after 50 years in the profession, and only weeks away from 97, has a perpetually light-hearted spirit about everything.

On Sunday mornings you’ll find him at church, dancing during worship, and despite the valleys in life he gives glory to God in all things, setting his eyes on that alone.

“I’m gonna run the race till I can run no more, and dance for God until my days are done.”