The Hamblen County Republican Women held its annual picnic Saturday at Cherokee Park and one of the surprise moments of the event was honoring longtime Republican Betty Shuck.
Circuit Court Clerk Teresa West presented the honor, her voice choking, as she gave Shuck a lifetime achievement award.
“She has worked so hard for us,” West said. “She has been a mentor for me.”
Shuck was one of the founding members of the Hamblen County Republican Women in the 1950s.
“She worked to establish the Hamblen County Republican Women and made it a strong organization, what it is today,” West said.
Shuck was then called to the front where she accepted her award.
About 100 people gathered at the Horner Dougherty Pavilion Saturday for barbecue and fellowship.
Guest speaker for the night was Kenyn M. Cureton, vice president for church ministries of the Family Research Council. Cureton, who was a longtime pastor in Hamblen County, spoke about D-Day and gave a 30-minute presentation on the day that turned the tide of World War II.
The Family Research Council is a pro-life and family values activist organization that operates out of Washington D.C. and was first formed by James Dobson, founder of Focus on Family.
His presentation came just a week after the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the landing on the beaches of Normandy.
Cureton spoke about President Donald Trump visiting the site last week and said the president gave one of the best speeches about the invasion since President Ronald Reagan.
Cureton gave an impassioned presentation on the American soldiers who stormed the beaches at Omaha and Utah beaches.
“It was on those beaches and on those bluffs that 10,000 shed their blood and 4,414 gave their lives to free people from the great evil at that time,” he said.
He showed slides of Americans, such as Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, calling for God’s help during the war and the invasion.
He talked how British Gen. Bernard Montgomery prayed before the battle. He talked of how one soldier didn’t pray to live, but that he may do his job and not let his buddies down.
“That’s the kind of duty, honor and sacrifice that generation, the Greatest Generation, had,” he said. “We need a little of that today, don’t we?”
He also shared how soldiers went to church services just before the invasion and as the American public heard about the invasion, they went to church to hold prayer services.
“Churches opened their doors, people came in beginning to pray for the effort, as they heard some news of the casualties that we’re mounting,” Cureton said. “In fact, Jews and Christians prayed together.”
Cureton spoke about how the GI’s left their homes and loved ones that they would never see again.
“But, with God’s help, they got the job done,” Cureton said.
As the picnic concluded, attendees ate barbecue and the Republican Women held a silent auction.