Rob Walton says he’s not really one of Sam Walton’s sons, even though he occasionally jokes about it since one of the Waltons also is named Rob. He’s not related to the multi-billionaire, but he’s still looking for the branch, he quips.
Walton and his wife Vera, pastor of the Lamont United Methodist Church in Oklahoma, brought a team of two dozen adult volunteers and youths to Greensburg this week. The youngest on the trip is 8. The Lamont group arrived Monday, and then spent the afternoon walking fields and picking up debris.
“It was the third time through, but we still picked up a lot of junk,” Walton said, adding that some of the wood the workers found had been shoved into the ground by the 2007 tornado.
Walton, 70, said he and his wife, who’s “much younger” at 53, have had tragic lives. He was an alcoholic. Both have had previous bad marriages, he said, that ended in divorce. A former nurse, she entered the ministry about eight years ago, right after they went broke trying to raise corn in the Panhandle, where they don’t get much rain, he said.
Now, Walton serves the spouse role in his wife’s ministry. He just ended a four-year term as state president of the United Methodist Men. Both have worked in prison ministry.
This is Walton’s fourth mission trip.
“This is what it’s all about — working with our youth,” he said. “We have generations of people going to prison. We don’t need to build more prisons.”