I first got involved with Martin Co. Right to Life around 1976 and it was around that time that Patricia Jones was elected President of Martin Co. RTL. It took some persuading to get her to serve and I remember her being reluctant to take the job as she was afraid her husband would kill her but as you can see she is very much alive today!
One element stands out to me and that is when you are a county President in Right to Life the responsibility stays with you 24-7. This was true for Patricia Jones, and she served well during her terms. After Patricia Jones gave up the President’s job I took it over for several years. After that Bob Matthews took over but I still was very much involved with Martin Co. Right To Life. Bob Matthews was President for about 3 years and then when He gave it up I took it over again and have held it since that time. I have been President in name only for the last several years now since we appointed Van McAtee executive Vice President. Another dependable member of Martin Co. RTL is Edward “Alan” McAtee who has been Treasurer for many years. Over the years we have had various people that have served as Secretary and another dependable member who has helped us has been Jerry Padgett. We have a skeleton crew in our organization but when we need extra help, volunteers always seem to be available when called upon.
Several events stand out as I look back over the years and some are quite funny. PAPER DRIVES come to mind. When we first started, we had pick-up points at Bramble, Shoals and Loogootee. On paper drive day we would load about three tons of paper on my truck and haul it to Washington to load onto a truck that Daviess County Right To Life was using . This usually involved three round trips for me. On one such trip I had bagged aluminum cans and had set them on top of the paper. Sometimes I lost a few cans but on one such trip John Walton, a friend of mine, said he was following me and the cans were flying out at him like bullets from my truck. After that, it required a tarp-covering from then on. We have had calls in which paper had been store in a barn or other out-building for some period of time. Snakes, rats, rabbits, spiders and various other creatures were always present for a surprise.
A humorous event occurred at one paper drive. When we were working to fill one particular semi-trailer, we were using wheel-barrows to save steps. I had told the crew about how many tire and wheel combinations plus handle-bars I had replaced. At days end at home I noticed someone had placed a Triple A automobile club decal sticker on one of the wheel-barrow handles and that sticker is still there today.
Trips To Washington D.C.
I didn’t keep track of the many trips I made to Washington D.C. for the March For Life and the March up the hill to the steps and gates of Supreme Court building, to protest Roe V. Wade. Many humorous events happened during the trips by bus, van, planes, and who can forget the subway rides! One year I left the group early to see that some of our elderly got back to the street safely. Because of health issues, a few wanted to leave early and avoid the rush at the end of the march. Anyway, from that instant I never saw another person I knew until that evening back at our hotel. This country boy was all alone in the big town! I happened upon two business men going to our same hotel via the subway. The key is to find the correct train going the correct direction. We found ourselves going the wrong direction, so we exited at the next stop. Our correct train was on the other side of the platform. This required us to run up an escalator which was going down and run down an escalator that was going up. I could not perform that feat today now that I am turning eighty years old!
People I knew & Respected in RTL
In addition to the McAtee family I must mention an un-sung heroes, Mrs. Sandy Woods of Bramble. Sandy has painted bill-boards and signs for us many times through the years, and at a very fair price. The most recent one was for the Christmas Parade in Loogootee. It is multi-colored and says, “If Jesus had been aborted there would be no reason for the season, Merry Christmas, Martin Co. Right- to- Life.
I cannot leave out the role Louie Kavanaugh Jr. has played in this saga. I think it was at the earliest paper drives, some 35 years ago that we became acquainted. The thing that stood out the most about Louis was his complete dedication to the Right to Life cause. We traveled to Indianapolis for many State meetings through the years together.
I think the most rewarding part of my experience was getting acquainted with Congressman John Hostettler’s family. Many of the older members of R.T.L will remember my self-assembled car and trailer. I used that rig all six times John ran for office. John, his wife and children, and his mother all rode with me at various times in parades at many cities in the eight district. I especially remember John walking in front or behind my vehicle during the parades. The fourth of July parades in Linton and Vincennes were very hot and long. One thing that impressed me about John was that even though we may not meet very often, he always knew me and would always called me by my first name.
Stepping Back For Now
I’m not quitting altogether but must slow down some. It is time for the younger generation to take up the mantle. These are just a part of the many memories I have while working in Martin County Right To Life. I have met some wonderful people and have been able to accomplish some things while working with these people. No we have not stopped abortion, but If I or those people had not stood up and was counted in the fight against abortion, how many young people would not know that abortion is wrong. If we saved just one life from having abortion, it would all have been worth it. I know many people and events have been left out; but not forgotten. I treasure everyone whom I have come in contact with and those who work to save the innocent unborn and the prospective mothers from the terrible destruction of Abortion. I thank you all, Marvin.
Statement From Martin Co. RTL, Van McAtee
Marvin’s commitment and contribution to defend and protect human life has been a life lesson in patriotism and human rights. Marvin’s unwavering dedication to the Pro-life movement has inspired us to not lose hope, stay focused and continue Gods work during these trying times. Thank you Marvin for your guidance as we continue his work. Your fellow members of Martin Co. RTL