The Man Who Everyone Knows


Interview with David Maxwell, my Grandpa!

Stephanie Rudd, Contributor

David Maxwell is a very well known person around the Crawford County Area, mostly for his concrete business and for being a genuine person in general. Not very many people know that Dave had served time in the military, constructed his own business, finished college, and managed to go into the national guard as well. His claim is that “I am not very interesting,” but to me his story is very interesting.

Growing up, Dave lived on a farm, running tractors and using farm equipment, working hard. When he was 17 he quit school and went to work, which he knew was a mistake. He spent a couple years in the military as a Navy Sea Bee.  He entered the military as a equipment operator in boot camp, allowing him to be D4 and an IPO which is Instant Petty Officer. He traveled overseas and went to Puerto Rico and Vietnam for nine months.

Before going to Vietnam, Dave had to take Vietnamese language classes to learn the basics to communicate with the locals there. During his time in Vietnam he picked up on more Vietnamese than what they were taught, being able to talk to the locals more fluently during that time. He happens to still remember some Vietnamese “Tiếng Việt,” means I speak Vietnamese. “Nó chậm,” means I speak it slowly.

Dave glanced back at his time in the war and had some amazing memories through out that time even though it was a dark time in history. He enjoyed the warm weather in Puerto Rico, the old architectural buildings, and the different cultures, but he especially enjoyed his time in Vietnam, as there were a lot of great people and a lot of great memories. His 13 Sea Bee team that was stationed in Vietnam would take the afternoon off every Sunday and go to the orphanages in the area, which was a very hard and emotional time for him.

When he joined the military, Dave lived in Hardinville, and he and four buddies had all gone into the military together into the See Bees as Instant Petty Officers. After serving in the military Dave returned to Hardinville, went back to college and got his Associates Degree, continued his construction, and ended up joining the National Guard which he really only went into because his older brothers went into the Army instead of the Navy.

He also continued doing concrete work.  Even before and during his military service, he was pouring concrete for people. Finally he started his own business, owning his own company for 33 years and pouring concrete for 53 years in total. While doing concrete work in the community and surrounding areas, Dave also taught kindergarden classes with his puppet Dr. Moody at the Outer West Market Christian Church for 15 years where he ended up starting preaching at 70.

¨I asked God, I just wanted to preach one service, because I knew it was scary, but I wanted to do it for God.” Thirty sermons and five funerals later he has accepted that this is what God intends for him to do, preaching at five different churches with three different congregations that ask him to come over and over again.

¨I don’t claim to be a preacher. I’m just doing what God intended for me to do. The churches I preach at are kind of my church family away from my church family.¨ In future years he hopes to spend time riding his motorcycle, work less, and hopefully preach at different churches.

¨I love everybody, the community is great, it’s given me a lot of work, I’ve worked for so many peopl. This city, and Oblong have treated me wonderful and I’ve treated them wonderful. I didn’t get rich in this business, but I didn’t set out to be rich.”  Dave loves the small community and that everyone knows everyone. Talking to city folks he explains that “in a small town, when I go past the convenience store, I know who is in there by the vehicle outside, and I’m given the hardware store keys when working on a project for the week. Even the train conductor recognized me and gave me a honk one day. Living in a small town is a benefit. It’s a good feeling to know everybody and it’s a good feeling to help people out. People help me out and I help them.”

Dave enjoys this this community and the atmosphere around here.

“Yes I do, I really do.  We have a lot of wonderful people. This is called the Bible Belt, which is a lot of Christians which I love, and non-Christians too. It is nice to know everybody. We live in an area where we are waving all the time driving down the road because we know everybody.¨

Interviewing Dave was a very cool experience that I really enjoyed. Getting to have more insight into his life and his past and hearing different stories and events that stuck with him throughout the years is really fun and interesting. I’m really glad I got to hear his story.