ST. PAUL, MN SAYS GOODBYE TO REV. WALTER BATTLE; Congressional Record Vol. 141, No. 206
(Extensions of Remarks - December 21, 1995)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E2435]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                          HON. BRUCE F. VENTO

                              of minnesota

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, December 21, 1995

  Mr. VENTO. Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate a fellow Minnesotan, and 
a friend, who devoted his life to the children of the Twin Cities and 
the world, Rev. Walter L. Battle. Reverend Battle was the head of a 
proud family, most of whom I have come to know personally because of 
their positive activities in our St. Paul community, especially Bob 
Battle, who is a friend and civic activist. Reverend Battle's interest 
and commitment to family extended to the greater neighborhood and 
community of St. Paul.
  Reverend Battle was an advocate for children and active in many 
efforts to assist disadvantaged youth. Recognizing that every child has 
the potential to succeed, Reverend Battle worked tirelessly to give 
children opportunities to achieve success. During his 46 years of 
service as pastor of St. Paul's Gospel Mission Church, he led several 
efforts to help children. Among these efforts was the establishment of 
the Institute of Learning. The institute helps guide teenagers away 
from involvement with crime and drugs and find positive alternatives 
and goals for their lives. He also enabled countless numbers of inner-
city youth to participate in summer camps, an activity that the 
children's families could not have afforded otherwise. Reverend Battle 
pursued this interest with a real passion, establishing a site and 
staffing it with volunteers.
  Efforts were not confined to the Twin Cities community; they extended 
to children around the world. In the 1950's, Reverend Battle traveled 
to Haiti to help build schools and teach Haitian students to read. Just 
last year, demonstrating his long-term commitment to the children he 
helps, he collected over 1,000 pounds of food and medicine to send to 
  Reverend Battle passed away last week, and the Twin Cities community 
is mourning the loss of our most beloved and devoted citizens. By 
making investments in the lives of our children, Reverend Battle has 
given our community a legacy that will live on in the successes of 
future generations that were influenced by his efforts.
  Investing in our children is a fundamental ingredient for America's 
continued success and prosperity. Unfortunately, here in Washington, 
Congress is embroiled in a budget debate that is set to shift the 
priorities of our Nation away from this type of investment. The new 
Republican majority's budget package drastically cuts funding for 
initiatives that aid children in need, including education programs, 
welfare assistance, health care coverage and low-income tax credits. 
Dedicated advocates like Reverend Battle deserve better. As we lose 
soldiers like Walter Battle, who devoted their lives to children and 
the material and spiritual well-being of our communities, we honor them 
and must support their mission by providing reasonable programs and 
realistic funding at the federal level to support their efforts.
  The funding reductions being advanced today will hit our Nation's 
most vulnerable citizens on all sides, reducing Federal support for 
many aspects of their livelihoods. At the same time, the funds being 
cut from these programs are being funneled into tax breaks for our 
Nation's wealthier citizens and corporations. If these funding 
reductions are enacted into law, efforts such as those begun by Walter 
Battle will run into expanded challenges in trying to create a better 
future for our children, especially the increasing population of 
children in poverty.
  Reverend Battle's advocacy for our Nation's most precious resource, 
our children, and the positive influence he had on so many lives should 
be remembered, and it will be missed. His activities should not only be 
praised, but should be supported by a strong commitment from Washington 
to maintain the safety net our nation has built to safeguard our 
Nation's citizens.

            [From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Dec. 19, 1995]

                 Activist Walter Battle Worked for Kids

       My children are going to have some food,'' the Rev. Walter 
     L. Battle once told a reporter.
       That particular time, he wasn't talking about this own kids 
     or those of his St. Paul congregation, but the children of 
     Haiti for whom he collected over 1,000 pounds of food and 
     medicine last year.
       Still, that attitude, strength of purpose and sense of 
     mission permeated everything Battle did to keep kids on the 
     right track. During a remarkable 46-year run as pastor of St. 
     Paul's Gospel Mission church, community activist and youth 
     advocate, he performed near miracles--all to give young 
     people better lives.
       His death last week, at age 74, of cancer deprived the 
     community of one of its best champions of youth.
       Among his many efforts for children were building schools 
     and teaching youngsters to read in Haiti in the 1950s; taking 
     inner-city kids to summer camps for many years; founding the 
     Institute of Learning to give teens an alternative to drugs 
     and street life, and fasting for 40 days to raise money for 
     the Institute's programs.
       Battle believed all kids were ``his children.'' And so must 
       The best tribute to him would be to keep his legacy of 
     service to children alive. So as not to lose more children to 
     poverty, crime, illness, ignorance and inattention, we must 
     all--like the Rev. Walter L. Battle--become advocates for