Ernest Andrus, a 97-year old World War II veteran, began walking across the United States a couple of years ago, hoping to raise funds and awareness for his original ship to make a return trip to the beaches of Normandy on the anniversary of D-Day. Unfortunately, Mr. Andrus became ill recently and had to suspend his walk.

However, Andrus’ traveling buddy, John Martin, has taken on the challenge to continue “Ernie’s Journey.” The retired firefighter is making his way through Lufkin this week, and on Thursday morning, he’ll have plenty of company: Cadets from both the Angelina College Fire Academy and Police Academy will accompany Martin for part of the journey.

Martin’s walk on Thursday in Lufkin will begin at Kurth Drive and Lakeview Street at 7 a.m. The walk’s end point will be 3676 Highway 69 at the Family Dollar store.

Onlookers are encouraged to attend and provide support.

For further information, contact Sabrina Collins ( or Krista Brown (

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Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.