Hads Named Citizen of Year
by Paula Lloyd –
Reprinted by permission – The Clovis Independent
Hal Hads is described by those who know him and work alongside him as a humble bridge builder who has a heart for Clovis and the needy of his community. Ask around town and people can’t say enough good things about him, much to his embarrassment.
Small wonder, then, that Hads was honored as the Citizen of the Year at the Clovis Hall of Fame banquet at the Veterans Memorial Building.
Hads is being honored specifically for his work with the Hmong community in Clovis and in developing a data base of the needy. But, according to those who know him, there are plenty of other reasons to honor Hads.
“One thing he has accomplished is in bringing recognition that there are needy in our community,” said Clovis Chamber of Commerce executive director Jim Ware. “It’s easy to sit back and say [the poor] are just a bunch of immigrants who shouldn’t have come here in the first place, but that’s not the case. Most of the people [The Salvation Army]helps are young couples.”
Ware called Hads “low-key, soft-spoken and very focused,” and praised his ability to “work with all kinds of groups.”
“The thing that strikes me about Hal is that he is a minister without pretense,” said the Rev. Bill Feeser, pastor of the Lord of Life Lutheran Church. “He’s down to earth, transparent and full of love, incredibly open. His caring comes through his voice.”
Feeser and Hads serve as chaplains for the Clovis Police Department. Clovis Police Officer Gary Mejia, who coordinates the chaplain program, called Hads a “valuable resource” to Clovis. “He’s very focused on his commitment to God, and he makes sure that’s what’s communicated to people,” Mejia said. “He’s been there for the people and for the officers.”
As a speaker at meetings of Gathering of People of God, an organization for law enforcement and fire personnel, Mejia said Hads “challenges police officers to walk a Godly line.”
Pastor Denise Leslie of Memorial United Methodist Church described Hads as “very generous hearted, a very gracious man. His heart is with the poor people. He has a big heart for this community and for the needy of this community.”
Hads recently spearheaded the first Poor Man’s Luncheon held at the Methodist church to honor Dr. Wilbur Lose, who pioneered The Salvation Army’s involvement in Clovis.
With all the accolades coming his way, Hads is the first to turn the attention away from himself. “I’m really surprised, humbled and honored,” Hads said of the award. “I see it as an award to The Salvation Army ministry here.”
Hads, his wife, Sheri, and their son Billy, 7, arrived in Clovis July, 1996, from their previous assignment in San Bernardino.