By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
Jack Hemingway Jr. sits at his antique rolltop desk in his office at Cloud Real Estate, surrounded by other antique furniture and hundreds of little pictures of motorcycles, and ponders his new role as chair of the United Way campaign.
A veteran of several years on the board of the United Way of the Greater Fort Hood Area, he assumed the mantle of front-line leadership this year as the goal inched up from $650,000 last year to $685,000. Hemingway longs for the times in between wars, when all of Fort Hood's soldiers are home and have time to work on civic affairs, but he and the rest of the organization's leadership feel they started the campaign with a bang at the kickoff luncheon Thursday.
Executive director Aaron Montemayor said the Pacesetters advance gifts campaign, considered a predictor for the rest of the season, had already grossed more than a quarter of the goal,
"We always long for the times when the fort's assistance can push us over $800,000, though," Hemingway said. "Right now, even the soldiers who aren't deployed are too busy to give it the push they would otherwise."
"I got on the board because I was asked and stayed with it because it's needed," he said.
Hemingway, like so many others, came here as a youth with a military family and graduated from Killeen High School while his father finished a career as a brigadier general, and the family settled here. Jack Sr. spent 30 years in the Army and 30 years as a municipal judge and Realtor. "It makes it sound like he worked 90 years, and he put in 90 years of work, but he was a judge while he was working in real estate," he said. The elder Hemingways have been married 60 years. The senior and junior couple were each on the program of the United Way kickoff as bronze contributors of $1,000 or more.
"When I started in real estate myself 21 years ago – and Allen Cloud has been my mentor the whole time – there were 36,000 people here and just a couple of hotels on U.S. 190 when that meant Veterans Memorial Boulevard. Now it means Central Texas Expressway, and that's almost built out."
He was president of the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors in 2000. He's now chairman of the Greater Killeen Free Clinic. "These are things I believe in, needs in the community that have to be addressed," he said.
His involvement in the clinic's leadership started when he was a partner in Texas Proud Custom Cycle Shop several years ago. The shop sponsored a poker run and gave the money raised to the clinic.
He said he and his wife, Martha, will celebrate 35 years of marriage next April with their son and daughter and four grandchildren. Martha is a neonatal nurse practitioner with the neonatal intensive care unit at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple.
"I'm really proud of her," he said.
All the antique wood in his office gives it a Victorian feel, but the old desk supports a computer keyboard. One of the newer items is a wooden legal-size filing cabinet, still in service.
Another pride and joy is a picture of about 100 Sunday-afternoon motorcyclists posing beside their bikes in front of the Alamo in 1917. It's joined by other pictures of World War I-vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycles around the office.
He's not in the cycle business any longer, but "I still have one or two," he said.
Contact Don Bolding at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7557