by Scott McCown

PENSACOLA, Fla. (BNc) — There have been a lot of preachers who had an impact on my life and my decision to become a preacher, but the one that stands out most was a “retired” preacher who taught Bible class when I was a teenager – Dale McCaleb. I only heard him preach on a few occasions. Most of his influence was in class and in fellowship before and after worship.

Bro. McCaleb grew up not far from where I now live. He is part of the “Greatest Generation” who had a hard life and worked to make ends meet. He worked with the Navy and preached whereever he lived. His life finally brought him to NAS Pensacola, where he decided to stay.

Dale and Ruby began worshiping with the Leonard Street church when I was about 14 years old. Soon Dale was teaching the teens, talking about a life of preaching, and going to school at Montgomery Bible School and meeting the love of his life (Ruby).

Dale’s knowledge of scripture, his relationship with the Savior, his love for God, his example of a life spent in service inspired me. When he spoke of his education, of his wife, of his God and Savior, I could hang on every word. He was my grandfather’s friend, but he was and is in many ways my hero.

Dale passed away on Sunday, January 16, 2011. In 2009, I had the honor to preach a series of sermons at the congregation were I grew up and where he was still attending. He was there, sitting in the third row, smiling, nodding approval, and saying, “Amen.” After 20 or more years of preaching, having his approval still meant so much to me. Brother Dale McCaleb — “Thank you.” I pray I can be a similar influence as I strive to follow Christ.