Hero Highlight: Maudie Kenney
It is our joy to introduce you to one of the most delightful women of Lander, Wyoming—Maudie Kenney. Maudie was one of the first widows involved with the Fathers in the Field program, and it has been our privilege to serve her over the years. However, we are confident that she has helped our field buddies as much as they have helped her. Maudie, who lost her husband Joe to cancer 18 years ago (they were married 46 years), loves the Lord and expresses that love through her zest for life. She turns 88 in November, but her advancing age has not slowed her desire to encourage and pray for others and help build God’s Church. Affectionately known as “the candy lady,” Maudie is a hero to us—not just because she always has good candy for the boys after their hard work, but most importantly because she is a faithful woman of God whose life reflects her love for the Lord.
Tell us about your relationship with Fathers in the Field?
Fathers in the Field has been a wonderful ministry to me. The boys and their mentor fathers come and clean out the weeds in my garden, and I can’t tell you what a blessing that is to me.
I love flowers. I think it brightens the day to see a beautiful flower. I have these little white flowers that have one purple dot on each petal. I think… that’s amazing! God cared enough about even a little flower to put one purple dot on each petal! It’s a simple thing but flowers are just so important to me… and they were to my husband Joe.
But now that he’s not here and I am no longer able to take care of the garden myself, the weeds and grass grow up over my flowers. So, the boys and men from Fathers in the Field come and clear out the garden. They are enthusiastic and don’t mind pulling up some weeds and grass. The boys are working together with their mentor fathers and it seems important to them. And it’s important to me. I get to see my peonies again! I just think it’s wonderful that the boys have someone showing them how to be thoughtful to other people.
How did you become involved with Fathers in the Field?
I have known Scott MacNaughton (co-founder of Fathers in the Field) since he was a teenager. We met him at church and were impressed with how hard he worked and how welcoming he was. We also were there when his parents parted and his father left the pulpit. I can just imagine how difficult it was for a young person like Scott growing up in a Christian home and going through that. I think it’s amazing that he came through it and still wanted to serve the Lord and church.
And it is wonderful to see how the ministry of Fathers in the Field has developed out of his pain. He knows what it’s like to hurt, and he goes out of his way to reach out to those who are hurting. So, when he asked if Fathers in the Field could help me, I said, “Sure.” I am delighted to see Scott respond to God’s calling and work with these young boys.
Do you believe that widows should receive special care?
Yes, and God does too. Many widows in Jesus’ time had no support and no way to care for themselves. Jesus saw their difficulty. Naturally, being the loving God that He is, He had compassion on them.
And Fathers in the Field is showing that same compassion. I am blessed to have lived in Lander for many years and to have gone to the same church since the 70’s. The church members are so helpful and caring. They have helped me through a lot, including my husband’s death and my recent hip surgery. But not all widows are that fortunate and they need help. And even though I have a lot of help, I still have a hard time getting some things done…like my yard. Fathers in the Field blesses me by helping with my yard and I am very grateful.
What kind of an impact do you see that Fathers in the Field has on the boys who are serving you?
I think it would be very difficult for these boys to have self confidence without their fathers in their lives. They need a male influence—someone whom they know is interested in them and cares how they grow up. My sons had that growing up. They had a very good relationship with their dad. I hurt for these boys that they don’t have that and am glad to see their mentor fathers working with them.
Fathers in the Field also teaches them to appreciate people when they are older. I remember that one boy came one time and just sat beside me and we had the nicest chat. I couldn’t believe it! We visited as if we were the same age.
I hope they leave feeling accomplished and confident that they have cared about someone else…even an older person.
And you always have a little something special for them too, don’t you?
(Laughter) Yes, I always try to have candy for them. A number of years ago I started bringing candy to church for the kids there. They just loved it and I enjoy giving it to them. Since then, I have been called the “Candy Lady.”
So, after the boys (and the mentor fathers) are finished with their work, I give them candy. One time, one boy didn’t even take the wrapper off before he put it in his mouth…he was so excited! I want them to know that I enjoy having them here. And, it’s fun to see them enjoy the candy I have for them.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I am just happy for these boys and for Scott and the others involved. These young boys are blessed with caring men who can serve as a good example and show them that someone cares about them. That delights my heart.
Read the latest articles from Field Notes. Click a year to see the titles. Or view all of our E-newsletters.
Defending the Cause: Battle on the Home Front - Heroes Needed
Defending the Cause: Building the Next Generation of Mentor Fathers
Defending the Cause: Legacy Gift – Giving the Gospel to Future Generations
Defending the Cause: Where Two Journeys Became One
Defending the Cause: A Treasure Chest of Pictures
Defending the Cause: Pastor to Pastor, Church to Church
Defending the Cause: All for the Kingdom
Defending the Cause: Surrender All
Defending the Cause: A Letter from One Mentor Father to Another
Defending the Cause: Guardian of the Fatherless
Defending the Cause: Over Promising and Under Delivering
Defending the Cause: A Fatherless Day
Defending the Cause: The Megaphone of Pain
Defending the Cause: Coach 'Em Up: Mentorship Matters
Defending the Cause: A Family Embrace
Defending the Cause: There's Room for You
Defending the Cause: A Father Wound Redeemed
Defending the Cause: A Belle, a Boy and a Horse
Defending the Cause: A New Sense of Self-Worth - Yvonne Sanders, single mom
Defending the Cause: Catfish and a Water Trough
Defending the Cause: Finding Joy in the Journey - Steve Hood, Church Champion, Colorado Springs, CO
Harvest Story: BILL & EZRA - Astoria, Oregon
Harvest Story: The First Mom: Daphne Steed - Brandon, Mississippi
Harvest Story: Keith & Taylor - Brandon, Mississippi
Harvest Story: Masen & Scott - Lander, Wyoming
Harvest Story: Q&A with Lyle “Chuck” Cleavenger, Donor
Harvest Story: Q&A with Maudie Kenney, Widow - Lander, WY
Harvest Story: Q&A with Ricky Leach, Mentor Father - Casper, WY
Defending the Cause: Do for One - Mentor Father Damon Peary, Bozeman, MT
Defending the Cause: Happy (Mentor) Father's Day!
Defending the Cause: Life, Love & Family
Defending the Cause: Sowing the Good Ground - Lester Spell, Jr. DVM
Defending the Cause: Light Your World - Donor, Bobby Davis, Knoxville, TN
Defending the Cause: New Mission Accomplished - Church Champion and Mentor Father Mark Johnson
Defending the Cause: On Board for New Heights - Evelyn Husband-Thompson, Houston, TX
Defending the Cause: Bringing Light and Life to a Broken Soul - John Smithbaker, Lander, WY
Defending the Cause: Happy Thanksgiving
Defending the Cause: Obtaining the Promise - John Cunningham, Mentor Father
A Healing Journey: Jenn Scott, Sterling, VA
Hero Highlight: Compassion in Action
Word From Base Camp: EXPECTATION
Defending the Cause: Welcome, Kevin Drewry - New Regional Director
Word From Base Camp: ABBA
A Healing Journey: Veniece Lindemulder, Single Mom, Bozeman, MT
Hero Highlight: Off the Bench, On the Field
Defending the Cause: Be a Wise Guy
Defending the Cause: WORLD's Western Region Hope Award for Effective Compassion Winner!
Defending the Cause: Framing a Boy's Life - Mentor Father Jeff Scott
Hero Highlight: Z. Guy
Word From Base Camp: PERSEVERANCE
A Healing Journey: Larry Sonnenberg - Mentor Father, Bozeman, MT
Defending the Cause: Planting Seeds of Life - Mentor Father Larry Sprouse
Hero Highlight: Keith Polk
Word From Base Camp: LEGACY
A Healing Journey: Daphne Steed, Single Mom, Brandon, MS
A Healing Journey: Brian Scott,
Hero Highlight: Maudie Kenney
Word From Base Camp: WIDOW
A Healing Journey: Damian Lopez
Hero Highlight: Cesar Chavez
Word From Base Camp: CHURCH
A Healing Journey: Susan, Single Mom
Mentoring and Mowing
Hero Highlight: Ricky Leach
Word From Base Camp: ORPHAN
Word From Base Camp: MISSIONARY
A Healing Journey: Kyle Weaver
Fathers in the Field Board Member
Hero Highlight: Andy Crawford
A Healing Journey: Marv Rethmel: Sam and the Old Bird
Word From Base Camp: MENTOR
Hero Highlight: Shane Ellison - Mentor, Donor
A Healing Journey: Suzanne C.
Word From Base Camp: GIFT
Hero Highlight: Lyle “Chuck” Cleavenger
A Healing Journey: Terry Leach
Front Royal, VA
Church Champion, Mentor Father
Word From Base Camp: COMMITMENT
Hero Highlight: Alan and Kevin Brotz
Word From Base Camp: GAP
A Healing Journey: Scott MacNaughton
Hero Highlight: Troy Duble
Word From Base Camp: FAITH
A Healing Journey: Joel Garcia
Hero Highlight: Marc Pierce
Word From Base Camp: FATHERHOOD
A Healing Journey: Matthew and Evelyn Husband
Hero Highlight: Teresa Kenneda, Evanston, Wyoming