Delk, who introduced his grandson, Robert Money, explained that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren have no idea what life was like when he was growing up. He said, being 90 years old, he grew up during the years between World War I and World War II and remembered those years well. He set out to write articles about life back then titled, “Memories of Yesteryear,” which was published in the Cleveland Daily Banner. The books are available at $18 each and he said he would be happy to autograph each copy sold.
Before Bostic gave the devotion, she voiced her concerns about the storm that hit the Northeast. She said she has been on her knees praying for the woman who called in on the prayer line, and for others too. “... you can’t just pray for one and leave the others out — you got to pray for them all,” she said. “We need to remember to pray for all the people involved in the storm ... we got people from Cleveland, pray for all the fire department — everybody who’s involved, because they need the prayers.” Also, she added, “Pray for the those who lost loved ones since the last meeting.”
The devotion was taken from John 14:6. Bostic said, “Everything we do, all our deeds and all our works for God should be a labor of love, motivated by our faith and hope in Him, so we have to have love, have to have faith and we have to have hope. Good works are meant to be a blessing, not an obligation, are a means of salvation. We do good works because of God’s love within us, not because we feel persuaded to do them.” When God is in your life, she continued, “the evidence is good works — praise, worship, obedience, prayer. We are signs of a heart totally committed to Jesus Christ.”
Judge Daniel Swafford was introduced as guest speaker. He began his talk, saying, “We’re in the crossroads — all of us.” He said there’s a Christian free enterprise route and there’s the what they call secular socialist route. That means putting your faith in government and this world. “I don’t know where everybody else wants to go,” Swafford said, “but I want to go the Christian free enterprise route.”
Swafford said he had been in this job since 2006. “It’s a big challenge,” he continued ... “the terrible things we see and the bad situations.” He confided that he would go home and worry and cry about some of the things he sees, “but I do my best to do what’s right for all the children that I handle.”
He said he’s responsible for all the general sessions civil and all the juvenile and he explained what that involves. He averages 150 to 300 cases a week in small claims court and is also responsible for enforcing a local resolution to ensure the community is clean and safe. “But probably I think the most important thing I do is my juvenile,” Swafford said. He has two offices, one downtown at the courthouse and the other at the old jail location. He said, “I do juvenile justice, which is delinquent and unruly juveniles at the old jail.” But, at the courthouse, he does dependent, neglected and abused children, as well as child support. He said he knows of one instance in Bradley County where one gentleman has seven different children by seven different mothers ... “the count is up to like $200,000 he owes in child support ... a real challenge.”
Paternity and legitimation cases of children born out of wedlock are also dealt with. “I never heard the term, ‘baby daddy and baby mama,’ until I took this job,” he said, “but that’s what it is today. You don’t have husbands and wives anymore, you got baby mamas and baby daddies.” Other judges in town handle the divorces, but Judge Swafford handles the unwed. “I do everything they do except divide houses and property — I do custody, visitation, child support and all that.”
Swafford also discussed methamphetamine abuse in families, neglected and abused children, homeless people and substance abuse problems. “It’s almost unbelievable some of the attitudes that I see,” he said, and “ultimately, they don’t follow Christian principles, but I fight to try to take care of the children.” He said he uses the best interest of the child as his guiding principle. “That’s what the law tells me — I have to follow the law, I have to listen to the facts, but the single most important thing is the best interest of the child.”
The judge said he grew up near Red Clay State Park and he would carry water from a outdoor spring and use an outhouse until he was in high school. “I grew up a generation behind the people of my age,” he said. “I thank God that I had a family that loved me and taught me right and wrong and gave me the hickory (switch) when I needed it.”
Swafford said, “What I’m trying to tell you is this, I’m blessed to have this job, I do my best every day, I go home sometimes and cry about the stuff I have to deal with. We try to save every family we can, but folks, some families can’t do it and you got to move on, you got to give a child the opportunity to fine a safe, stable loving home, so I wear many different hats — I have many different responsibilities, but always I try to do what I hope and best I can understand it, the best interest of the children.”
“God willing, I’ll be able to do this a few more years, that’s my intention,” he said.
Swafford said the club members were invited to come and walk through the juvenile detention center.
A club member, Juanita Poteet, was given a birthday recognition. Gifts were given and a waitress sung “Happy Birthday” for her 83rd birthday.
The door prize, courtesy of Steve Robinson of Cleveland Plywood, was won by Peggy Meyer.
The November meeting will be Nov. 26 at the Golden Corral at 11:30 a.m. Guest speaker will be Tommy Townsend, a Vietnam veteran. Bostic asked that everyone wear their flag pin and put on some red, white and blue.
Others attending the meeting were Ruby Ball, club recorder Shawn Markie, Kent Gunderson, Barbara Tucker, Lily Cunningham, Martha Ledford, Calvin Davis, Robert Money, Joe Ben Chase and Betty Keith.
For information on the United Club meetings, contact Bostic at 479-9207; Charles Lupo at 478-5766; or Markie at 476-5426.