Roy Exum: God Could Use You…

Sunday, April 20, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

In the spring of 1968, this just before pro golfer Billy Casper would win six tournaments that year and be the leading money winner on the tour, the wildly-popular “Buffalo Bill” was in Japan playing some off-season tournaments. He was asked if he would like to visit some American soldiers who had been seriously wounded and Casper, ever the gentleman, said of course.

As he melted at the sight of America’s youngest heroes who were missing limbs and were horribly disfigured at the height of the Viet Nam war, he noticed one soldier who hadn’t moved. The doctor whispered this particular young Marine would probably die but Billy, the size of his heart best evidenced by the fact five of his 11 children are adopted, walked to where he could whisper in the wounded warrior’s ear: “God could use you today … don’t give up.”

That’s the story Clebe McClary told to his neighbor over a year ago in Pawley’s Island, S.C. Clebe, a phenomenal motivational speaker who has been in Chattanooga numerous times, happened to be talking that singular afternoon to Jay Haas, who played in 22 Masters tournaments as a professional. Haas asked Clebe if he remembered the golfer’s name who had given him a life-saving pep talk and Clebe answered, “Billy Casper … did you ever know him?”

Haas just smiled and nodded. “I had just about given up,” Clebe told his neighbor. “My arm had been blown off, my left eye was gone and I wanted to die. I think I’d have died right there if not for him,” he continued and Haas immediately made an unspoken vow to himself.

Knowing the beloved Casper hasn’t ever missed being at the Masters since he won the fabled tournament’s green jacket in 1970, Haas arranged for Clebe to come to Augusta to ostensibly watch Jay’s son Bill play in this year’s event.

As they met at the big oak tree near the clubhouse where so many reunions take place every year, an 82-year-old man stepped from the shadows and walked towards Clebe and Jay. Casper and McClary hadn’t seen each other or talked in 46 years, but each has thought of the other often. As the two men embraced Billy, in the same quiet tone he used long ago one day in Japan, told Clebe, “Don’t let go till you want to let go…” McClary openly sobbed at the sound of Casper’s voice.

In a moving article that just appeared in GolfWeek, writer Jim McCabe wrote the two men “hugged and hugged and hugged,” the warm embrace lasting five minutes. Everybody who helped arrange the reunion wept openly. “We all just cried our eyes out. You never know what effect you are going to have on another human being,” said Casper’s daughter, Julia Cervantes, as she stood with her mother and her uncle, the delighted Bob Goalby who ironically won at Augusta in 1968.

McClary, who hardly needed to apologize for his raw emotions, told Casper how proud he was to have heeded the pro’s advice, “to stay strong and find faith in God,” which is something coming from a man who earned both the Silver Star and Bronze Star at a huge price. “My guardian angel,” Clebe said as he pointed to the still spry Casper.

Isn’t it funny how such things unfold? “I was recently asked how I wanted to be remembered,” Casper told the golf writer, “and I told him, ‘I want to be remembered for how I loved my fellow man.’” McClary is the same way. The Marine’s business card reads, “I am just a nobody, that wants to tell everybody, about somebody, that can save anybody.”

* * *

AN EASTER THOUGHT

“Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.

“Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher

“Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.

“Had no army, yet kings feared Him.

“He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.

“He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.

“He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.”

--Author unknown.

royexum@aol.com


Billy Casper and Clebe McClary greet one another at this year's Masters' tournament 46 years after the golfer encouraged the critically-wounded Marine.
Billy Casper and Clebe McClary greet one another at this year's Masters' tournament 46 years after the golfer encouraged the critically-wounded Marine.
- Photo2 by Julia Cervantes, (Billy Casper's daughter)

Community Should Come First

The community of Eastdale wants to revitalize our community. In our efforts to do so we need to recruit homeowners. With that being said we can not have an abundance of corner stores and or gas stations in our neighborhood less than a half mile in either direction. Adding another Kankus store does not provide a healthy mix.  In all due respect, we as a community are afraid ... (click for more)

Passing On The History Of Atrocities To Eliminate Them

I have seen and read a lot about the world in my 68 years. Out of curiosity, yesterday, I read an obituary of a local person who had served in WWII, and participated in the freeing of prisoners at a German concentration camp that I had never heard of before. My curiosity was peeked to find out how many concentration camps the Germans operated during the War, so I googled and found ... (click for more)

2 Suspects Sought In Armed Robbery At Highway 153 Long John Silver's

Police are searching for two suspects in an armed robbery that happened Friday morning. At approximately  8:10  a.m. the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 5317 Highway 153 for a robbery at the Long John Silver's.  Officers discovered that two black men, wearing hoodies and masks, entered the Long John Silver's and forced the assistant manager ... (click for more)

Fire Causes $30,000 In Damages At Scenic City Concrete

Chattanooga firefighters responded to a reported structure fire shortly after  10 p.m. Thursday  at Scenic City Concrete Pumping, located at 2903 South Orchard Knob Avenue. Captain Donny McMillian with Engine 9 said smoke was visible when the first firefighters arrived. Captain McMillian said the firefighters had to force their way through a locked gate and into ... (click for more)

Lewis Leads Silverdale Girls Past Boyd-Buchanan

Thursday   was a day of celebration for the Silverdale Lady Seahawks and junior sharp-shooter Megan Lewis. It took an overtime period, but the home-standing Lady Seahawks pulled out a heart-stopping 45-44 victory over the Lady Bucs in a battle for first place in District 5-A.  Lewis scored the game winner with two seconds to play after scoring her 1,000th point on ... (click for more)

Twins Name Doug Mientkiewicz Manager Of 2015 Lookouts

The Minnesota Twins have announced the 2015 coaching staff for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Former Minnesota Twin Doug Mientkiewicz will manage the team alongside hitting coach Chad Allen and pitching coach Stu Cliburn. An article in  The Chattanoogan  on November 20 revealed that  Mientkiewicz was being considered for the position of Chattanooga's manager. ... (click for more)