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60 years of perfect attendance (well, almost)
The mumps and a sick wife were all that could keep Loy Woodring out of Sunday school
Springway Baptist Church awarded this plaque to Loy Woodring for 60 years of Sunday school attendance. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Loy Woodring doesn't think his accomplishments are all that great - but he hopes he can inspire others to do the same thing.

For more than 60 years Woodring, 86, has only missed Sunday school twice at Springway Baptist Church.

"I missed a time or two because of snow but on those days I went to other churches," said Woodring, who also missed a service when his wife Inez fell ill. "But after we got back from the hospital I met with some people here at the church, gave my tithe and said a prayer. I don't usually make too much out of it.

"I didn't start off to make a record; I'm just trying to follow Christ the best I know how. I don't tell this often but if it will encourage somebody, I'm willing to share it."

Woodring also missed once because he had the mumps.

In celebration of his accomplishments, members of Springway Baptist presented Woodring with a plaque in July for his longtime attendance. Prior to the plaque, the church always gave Woodring a pin denoting the year of attendance.

This year when church secretary Margaret Lipscomb called the company that made the pins, they said they don't make pins honoring attendance of more than 59 years.

"We called the company that makes the pins and we even went to bookstores," Lipscomb said. "They said they had quit doing this and they hadn't remembered ever making one that's a 60-year pin. And we said we have to do something so we came up with the idea of the plaque."

Before Woodring became a Christian in 1947, he served in the Army in World War II. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his service after he was shot in the head. The bullet grazed his skull and left a cut on one side of his head, he said.

"I read the Bible before I was in the Army and yet I went through the war without being saved.

"One day we lost from around 40 men to 11 and my platoon. I was the only one I heard pray and I wasn't even Christian. And that scares me today. I worry about it even today because if I'd had been a Christian myself I could have witnessed to some of them and might have changed their destiny."

But since then Woodring has served as a deacon, the Sunday school director and been on outreach visits.

Debbie Brewer, one of Woodring's daughters, said all these years her father has been an inspiration for her.

"It's just been kind of an example for us," she said. "This day and time it is very easy to let your spiritual priorities slip. There is so many things that you can be doing ... and he's just always made sure that we have personal relationships with Christ. And he has always led more by example than by words."

The Woodrings also have another daughter, Gaye Cronin of Gainesville.
Brewer said through the years her father not missing church has become a family priority.

"He made it a conscious decision that it was his priority, and the family supported him in it," she said. "It was just amazing that he was able to do that all these years and is still doing it."



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