NEW CASTLE — Local evangelist Randy Crum is taking one of his quarterly crusades to the Lawrence County Fair.
The Salute to the American Soldier service gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16 in what the fair’s website refers to as the Dog Pavilion. It will be preceded by an hour of music starting at 6:30.
“It’s a pretty big building,” Crum said of the pavilion. “It’ll seat 400 or 500 underneath and, weather permitting, people can also bring their lawn chairs and sit right outside because it’s open on both sides — although that’s a heck of a thing to call it.”
Well, on the other hand, maybe not.
Crum and others from Vision Ministries Inc., local community agencies, veterans and public safety personnel will be there to lift up God, who English poet Francis Thompson once called “The Hound of Heaven” for the Deity’s dogged determination to pursue and reconcile the lost to himself.
Crum is barking up the same tree when it comes to taking the gospel message to Lawrence County residents.
So far, he’s held crusades at Mohawk and New Castle high schools, but using the fair as his next venue is “a great opportunity because you have the number of people coming. We want to reach as many as we can.”
On Aug. 16, he’ll bring a military theme to his efforts, with a portion of both a freewill offering and a fundraising Fallen Warrior Motorcycle Ride from Cascade Park to Laurel High School prior to the crusade benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We have what we call an American Heritage Choir made up of people from seven or eight churches, we have the Vision Ministries Praise Team, we’ll have individual singing,” Crum said. “It’s all going to be geared toward patriotic. I’ll be bringing a message on God and the military.
“I think God needs to be in the military, and we need to praise God for the free country in which we live. It’s God who has done that.”
Representatives from the national Patriot Guard Riders will be taking part in the one-hour motorcycle excursion that leaves Cascade Park at 6 p.m., and they’ll receive a citation from state Rep. Chris Sainato. Once the riders reach Laurel High, the New Castle Area Honor Guard will lead them in a procession across Harlansburg Road, through the fairground gates and up to the pavilion.
“We bought 500 little flags that we’re going to try to get people to line up the entrance way into the fairgrounds and in the fairgrounds to stand as we solemnly march through with a bagpiper playing,” Crum said. “We also got the Army and National Guard involved and they’re going to supply a Hummer.
Crum invites not only all motorcyclists to participate in the ride, but also local police, fire and ambulance departments.
“Anybody in an emergency line of duty helping other people, as far as I’m concerned, is a warrior,” he noted.
Moreover, any members of the military who present a current military ID will be admitted to the fair free all day, Crum explained.
As an added feature, the crusade will have representatives of various community organizations on hand to offer information and help to those who might need it.
“We’re going to have Celebrate Recovery, Lawrence County Youth Ministries is going to put up something there for teens, we’ll have the food pantry there, we’re going to have the Rescue Mission there, so we’ve got all kinds of aides the people can draw from.
“We want to continue to do this at everything we do because we bring the help to the people rather than them trying to have to find it.”