Apr 25, 2015

In Memory Of Loren Fink: His Liberation Exactly 70 Years Ago

Common Sense Commentary: Salute the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and thank them for their service. You never know where they have been and what they have endured for your freedom and mine.

Seventy years ago, this week, One of my heroes, Staff Sergeant Loren Fink, a prisoner of war in Germany, was set free after many months of unimaginable pain, hunger and suffering. Loren had been a machine gunner on many B17 bombing flights over Germany. On his last flight, he and his crew were shot down, as were sixty-two other B17 crews ... on the same day. Over 600 airmen downed in one day, Oct. 14, 1943. That horrendous day is still known to Historians as "The World's Greatest Air Battle". Loren was seriously wounded, for the second time, having survived his first wounds several months earlier. Now, as Loren lay bleeding, and other crewmen were bailing out, the pilotless plane banked and the pilot, last man out, later said that Loren, unconscious, fell or rolled out the open door. Loren never remembered getting out or pulling his parachute's rip cord, but woke up in a plowed field where he was taken prisoner. Lack of care for his wounds brought on endless, agonizing pain and gangrene. Even after a Polish doctor began treating him, there was little medication and no pain killers. Loren suffered from his wounds the rest of his life. 

All efforts to escape failed. Many prisoners died from lack of food and poor treatment. By March or April of 1945 Loren's weight was down to under 100 pounds.

Brutal Nazi treatment, lack of food, no medicine and long marches, including his last, the now infamous "Death March" compounded his suffering, but set him free. His German guards had left the prison camp and marched their prisoners over 600 miles in 86 days to surrender themselves with the prisoners at the US front line, April 27, 1945. The war wasn't over for another nine days. 

Loren's ordeal in that war, his wounds, his treatment, starvation, and his suffering as a prisoner left him almost mentally and physically destroyed ....but God used it all to build a kind and exceptional man. 

 When the war in Europe officially ended a few days after his liberation, Loren was shipped home, to Washington State, for months of medical treatment and rehabilitation. He was discharged in November 1945 and soon married Nina Cox, one of the sweetest, and most faithful Christian women I have known. They had two children who are also fine Christians. 

Until this week, I had not seen any of them in over 23 years, but I see their precious faces clearly in my memory. They were all members of the church I founded and pastored in Tallahassee, Florida for nearly 30 years. 

Yesterday, Loren and Nina's son, Ken, came here to visit. Ken is a very successful part of a hi-tech company. Over a BBQ dinner, we talked of his wonderful mom and dad, both of whom are now in heaven. Our visit was one of the most blessed of my many years. Thank you Ken for the memories, your love and your kindness of supplying a Kindle for this old preacher's weak eyes...... He ordered it in a split second while we were talking. He is an expert on a computer, Brother and Mrs. Pettus (His teachers at NFCS).

Loren and Nina sent Ken and his sister, Loretta, to our Christian School and they were all members of the church I pastored in Tallahassee, FL. I am so proud of those two marvelous children and of Loren and Nina, all of whom were such a blessing to the entire church.  

Nina passed away several years ago. Loren went to be with our Lord in February, last, having served the Lord the rest of his life after his liberation in 1945. He is now truly liberated from his pains, weaknesses, sickness and the trials of the flesh..... Praise God. 

Thank you, Loren and Nina for your years of friendship to me, and faithfulness to Jesus and His church. No parents are perfect but you two came about as close to it as is humanly possible to be. As your pastor, I commend you and as your friends, Mrs. Blair and I love you and your children and look forward to our reunion around the throne of our wonderful Lord .... soon, no doubt. What a day that will be. Psm.115:1, RB

From Kaye Blair Tyler:
I remember the Finks oh so well, didn't know all that about Mr. Fink, I shall stand and salute him, what a great man. I wished I could have been there in the conversation between you and Ken. I also can see their faces in my memory as if it was yesterday.

From Ron Blair
Selfless child of God; Uncommon husband, father and example; Selfless patriot. What a great legacy! God has and will continue to bless that legacy. 

From Rex Blair
Loren Fink, another one of Gods' quiet heroes. A champion in our midst, unknown by us but known by God. What an inspiration.


Ron Blair said...

Selfless child of God; Uncommon husband, father and example; Selfless patriot. What a great legacy! God has and will continue to bless that legacy.

Rex Blair said...

Loren Fink, another one of Gods' quiet heroes.
A champion in our midst, unknown by us but known by God.
What an inspiration.