During a lunch break while Jim Wallis was giving a seminar in Lincoln, Nebraska, in March 1981, a man and a woman approached him and asked if they could join him for lunch. After they were seated, the man said, "I want to thank you for being our friend all these years."
Jim was surprised, since he had never met the couple before. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"For years all we had was your magazine [Sojourners] to interact with. It was almost like someone to talk to. We couldn't talk to other people because of my security clearance," the man replied.
"What was your job?"
"I was a SAC [Strategic Air Command] commander in Omaha. But now I've left that job, and I'm working in the peace movement," he said, smiling broadly.
Since that day, Jim Wallis and Sojourners Community have met with Ron and Jenna Coleman several times. When the editorial staff decided to initiate the "Changing Lives" feature, it seemed logical to begin with their story.
In 1962, a few months before his 21st birthday, Ron Coleman enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He said he saw the military as "a nice, easy escape."