Joe East – the gentleman prince.  One can hardly imagine a dimension of this ministry where his influence is not felt.  Cmdr. East was one of the first leaders in North Alabama.  The southern part of the district was already well established when the Tennessee Valley Section came into being. He was the first to become an instructor and actually spearheaded a very bold move to get things going.  In 1976 he was going to every church possible plying men into the training regime.  Some would just come under the influence of his persona…not yet fully committed to the ministry.  Some stayed the course… some did not. We had to live up to the South Alabama challenge…we had moved that 60 in the LTC training.  As they dropped out we packed the classes with more.

Cmdr. East originated the mantra…” Well, we just have to train them faster than they quit!” And he did. After the dust settled the Tenn. Valley was firmly in the lead.  That lead has never faltered.  Within 2 years he had established a momentum that resulted in the most outstanding section in the district and remains so in 2022.

Some of his personal items that framed his presence and are most hallowed are still around.  His pickup is treasured yet by an admirer in Atlanta.  His FCF leather outfit is still with us.  Joe’s buggy seat, used at every camp, is with The Rock Family Worship Center.  However, most all of his other defining trappings have taken the wings of the wind.  His influence will be with us forever.