Hear the Gospel, according to #039;The Duke#039;

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 22, 2003

If there is anyone who can grab the attention of his audience, it's John Wayne impersonator Dr. Gene Howard.

The older Howard got, the more he looked like rough-tough man, John Wayne. So, he decided he could use his John Wayne-looks to enhance his ministry.

The evangelist donned full, old-time cowboy regalia and many who would never have come to hear his message of God's love and salvation began to seek him out.

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On Feb. 2 and 3, the nationally and internationally known John Wayne impersonator will appear at Green Drive Baptist Church, giving area residents an opportunity to see and hear him in person.

At the 10 and 11 a.m. services on Sunday, Howard will give his John Wayne impersonation presentation.

He will deliver several of his poems from his album, &uot;What Made America Great,&uot; and bring a patriotic and spiritual message.

The Rev. David Kenny, church pastor, said Howard will make his audience want to wave the Stars and Stripes and salute the men and women who keep America free.

Kenny first heard about Howard at a national meeting of Baptists in Gulfport, Miss. last year and wanted to bring him to Troy and Pike County.

&uot;Dr. Howard uses his resemblance to John Wayne to draw a crowd and, once he get the crowd, he gives them the gospel,&uot; Kenny said. &uot;His message of freedom and sacrifice carries over into a gospel presentation.

Dr. Howard has appeared on many television and radio programs across the United States and is one of America's most sought after patriotic speakers.&uot;

Howard also conducts communication seminars and will conduct two at Green Drive Baptist Church.

The 6 p.m. Sunday service and the 7 p.m. Monday service will be communication seminars.

&uot;The seminars are for teachers, laymen – anyone who wants to learn how to communicate the gospel by using simple drawings,&uot; Kenny said. &uot;We want to make sure that everyone knows that the Sunday morning services are the only two in which

Dr. Howard will impersonate John Wayne. Both services will be inspirational and we want to encourage everyone to join us for the opportunity to hear and see Dr. Howard as John Wayne.&uot;

The public is also invited to participate in the communication seminars on Sunday night, Feb. 2 and Monday night, Feb. 3.

Howard will also appear at Community Baptist Church in Grady at 7 p.m. Tuesday night, Feb. 4.

Howard has appeared on the same program with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, Ambassador Dr. Allan Keyes, John Wayne's widow, Pillar Wayne and Harry Carry Jr. who appeared in 11 movies with John Wayne.