Supporting Missions

Gary practiced primarily as a large animal veterinarian for nine years in Menomonie, Wisconsin, and then 24 years in Buffalo. Since 2001 he has been involved with accreditation of veterinary technician programs. He enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, classical music, spending time with his six grandchildren (aged 6-18), and shoveling snow.

When they came to Buffalo in the 1970s to look at the veterinary practice, Gary and Mary Lynn were brought to Zion and met briefly with Pastor Ed Blair.

We would probably have ended up here anyway, but the week after our visit we got a personal letter from Ed inviting us to Zion. Pretty impressive.

They have come to love the many levels of involvement in church, community, and world issues, and both sing in the Zion choir, which is a great source of satisfaction for them.

Shortly after moving to Buffalo, Gary and Mary Lynn were integrally involved in Zion’s sponsoring of the Dai family, Vietnamese refugees, who came to Buffalo in the winter of 1979-80.

We had met and befriended Mr. Dai’s older brother, Man, in the mid-seventies. Our Menomonie congregation, Our Savior’s, undertook a Vietnamese sponsorship, and we were part of the core group facilitating the process. Man was a student at Stout at that time and was very, very helpful in translating and bridging social, cultural, and culinary chasms. After we moved to Buffalo, Man contacted us and asked if we might be able to assist in getting his brother’s family out of a refugee camp. Zion responded. The Dais now live in California. We saw the family this spring at the wedding of son Khoa  who was two when they arrived in the United States. They are doing well. They couldn’t say enough about how important Zion’s involvement was in their relocation to America and indeed in their lives.

Gary regularly purchases coffee from the Global Missions’ coffee project because the sales go toward furthering Zion’s mission efforts as well as to help the growers at the sources.

It raises some money for Zion’s missions, it highlights the need for assisting the growers, and it raises awareness amongst the congregation about these issues.

I have given up suggesting to Lew Hille that we should be charging more than the coffee is sold for. Lew would regularly point out that as a consumer I was not restricted to paying the listed price. So with Lew preying on my good Lutheran sense of guilt, I overpay. Others may also wish to add a couple of dollars; we know it is going to good causes.

There is a problem in all of this for me in that our daughter and son-in-law own Irish Blessings, the very fine coffee shop in Maple Lake. So sometimes I end up giving our kids coffee for their home use.

Gary also volunteers each month as a proofreader for the newsletter, and unloads shipments from Second Harvest at the Buffalo Food Shelf on Friday mornings.