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Chester County Press

Prayers for Barry - A Prayer Ride for Barry Hostetter

10/21/2020 07:04PM ● By Steven Hoffman

On Sunday morning, a community came together to support, honor, and—above all—offer heartfelt prayers for one of its own.

Starting before 10 a.m., people lined up their vehicles near the Hayesville Garage on Jackson School Road for a prayer ride for Barry Hostetter, a well-liked member of the Oxford community who is courageously battling cancer. 

At approximately 10:40 a.m., the prayer parade started and for the next 75 minutes a seemingly endless series of vehicles—milk trucks and John Deere tractors, cars and farm equipment, dump trucks and motorcycles, as well as one tractor trailer after another paraded up the country road that runs right in front of the Hostetters’ home.

It was certainly the longest, most beautiful traffic jam in the township’s history.

The prayer parade included more than 100 vehicles. In addition to the parade participants, dozens of other people lined the route to wave at the participants and to show their love and support for Hostetter. The Sunday morning display was as impressive as it was uplifting.

Many of the tractor trailers had signs offering encouragement to the Hostetter family.

Love you Barry, read one.

God Bless Barry was the message on another truck.

Another read, Barry, stay strong! 

Numerous signs said, Prayers for Barry.

The prayer ride was organized in just five days, according to Buzz Tyson, the executive director of the Lighthouse Youth Center

The original plan, Tyson said, was to have a few cars and maybe a grain truck drive by the Hostetters’ home. But as word about the prayer ride spread, more and more people wanted to offer their well-wishes to Hostetter and his family.

“I knew he had a lot of friends,” Tyson said, “but when we started planning this, I realized just how many friends Barry has.”

Many people know Barry from his work at the family business—Hostetter Grain, which the family has owned and operated for more than 50 years. The business includes the Oxford location on Route 10, as well as the Cochranville Grain Elevator and the Mt. Pleasant Grain Elevator located in Frederick County, Maryland. In addition to serving the local farming communities surrounding the three grain elevators, Hostetter Grain buys and sells grain in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia. Additionally, Barry has served on the board of directors for the Lighthouse Youth Center for the last three decades.

Tyson said that the Lighthouse has been doing some small things over the last few months to show their appreciation and support for Hostetter and his family. He credited Ron Summers, a founding board member of the Lighthouse Youth Center, for suggesting a prayer ride.

Those who turned out for the event talked about how Barry Hostetter is a positive person who is always willing to help others.

“Barry is the only person that I can say this about. I have never seen him without a smile on his face,” said Charlie Delp, a longtime friend.

Ben Beiler, another longtime friend, agreed. “He’s always positive,” Beiler said.

“It’s a good farm family—a Christian family,” added Tom Watterson.

Daryl Thomas said that his wife and parents both went to church with Barry and his family. He said that Barry Hostetter has always been friendly and willing to give back to others.

Tyson also said that Hostetter is a great volunteer. One example is how he will help take the kids to basketball games. He is also very popular when he stops by the youth center to help out.

“The kids are always happy to see him come to the Lighthouse,” Tyson said. “Barry is always smiling.”

Behind the scenes, Barry Hostetter has been an effective member of the Lighthouse board.

“He’s always been one of our most active board members,” Tyson said, explaining that Hostetter serves on numerous committees and worked tirelessly on the Project Blessing initiative, which resulted in the construction of a new home for the Lighthouse that opened five years ago.

On a personal note, Tyson said that his friendship with Barry Hostetter goes back more than 25 years. Back then, it was Hostetter who called Tyson to tell him he had been hired as the new executive director of the Lighthouse.

“Barry is one of my best friends,” Tyson said.

Tyson expressed his gratitude to all the police officers, firefighters, and township officials who helped to safely stage the prayer ride by providing traffic control along the parade route. He also thanked all the participants for helping to deliver a positive message to the Hostetter family.

Everyone was eager to do that.

Howard Robinson talked about a few of the characteristics that make Barry Hostetter so well-liked in the Oxford community.

“He is kind and generous and everything a Christian should be,” said Robinson. “There’s no better man that I know of.”