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Thank You Veterans: Steve Barrows

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Barrows led soldiers in a variety of deployments overseas. Now, Reverend Steve Barrows leads a rural congregation just miles from where he grew up.
Lieutenant Colonel Steve Barrows led soldiers in a variety of deployments overseas. Now, Reverend Steve Barrows leads a rural congregation just miles from where he grew up.

Steve Barrows joined the Army ROTC while studying at Cornell in 1974 and entered active duty in 77. He originally planned to serve for two years and then get out. But two became three, became four, became seven. "And pretty soon I was over 12 and I said, 'It's not very far to the downhill side of 20. I'm doing well. And more importantly, I'm having an opportunity to serve my country and make a difference."

His career as an artillery specialist would take him to Germany, South Korea and Honduras, training our allies in the use of cannon and missile systems, as well as military strategy and policies. By the time he left in 1998, he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. It was during his final year that he heard the calling to become a minister.

"Didn't know how, didn't know where, didn't know when but I just knew that that had to be a part of my life," said Barrows.

After three years of study at the Practical Bible College, Barrows became pastor of North Spencer Baptist Church in 2000. He also oversees North Spencer Christian Academy where we held his recognition ceremony.

Before our ceremony got underway, the students, staff and guests said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang patriotic and Christian songs.

Joe Sempolinski, District Director for Congressman Tom Reed, presented Reverend Barrows with a citation and Congressional challenge coin.

"Freedoms we enjoy, freedom to express ourselves, freedom of religion, are only available to us because we have folks, like Reverend Barrows, who chose to defend those freedoms," said Sempolinski.

Al Eaton is President of the Southern Tier Veterans Support Group.

"If you want to see an example of somebody you ought to emulate, Reverend Barrows is certainly someone like that. Either because of the fine work he did in the military, or the work he continues to do today," said Eaton.

Annmarie Allaire brought a gift on behalf of Quilts of Valor.

"I love what I do. And, I'm really proud to give this one to you because I made it, said Allaire.

His wife Trish says Steve is a very loving and caring man who wants the best for people. "He's continuing to serve his country, he's serving his community, but mostly importantly, he is serving God in everything he does. Love you honey."

Steve accepted on behalf of everyone who has served. "Everyone of us here, we love the United States of America. And the United States of America is possible because of our veterans who fought, some of whom never came home."

Reverend Barrows volunteers his time with Project New Hope, which provides a weekend Summer retreat for returning combat veterans and active duty personnel. He provides counseling for those struggling with the transition back to the States. Trish says he's always been a good leader and educator. "That translates well in the ministry here, both in the church and in the school. Knowing people's needs and being able to meet them. And, with the counseling too. Because counseling is a lot of training on different ways of thinking and dealing with things."

Reverend Barrows looks back on his military career as preparation for his current career. "I think the Lord knew at that time, when I didn't know him, when I wasn't a man of faith for most of those years, I think he used that really to prepare me."

Note: NewsChannel 34's partner in this effort has been the Southern Tier Veterans Support Group which provides a network of resources for local veterans, service members and their families. It also works to educate the public on veterans issues and provides financial assistance in emergency situations. For more information, go to stvsg.org. NewsChannel 34 also thanks the wonderful volunteers from Quilts of Valor for their participation. For information on that group, go to QOVF.org.
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