Loyal Order of Desert Rats


“Preserving Our Past for Our Future”

On Sunday, May 2, 2009 George Vest visited Jim and I here at our house at 10031 N. 16th Drive. Phoenix.
He brought and donated a notebook with information about a young men’s club. This club was formed in January 1940 by Rev. Harvey Hood of the Desert Mission. This note book consists of a membership roster, attendance of members and minutes of this club.  This club lasted a little over a year.This club was known as Knoxonian Klub, named for John Knox, 1510-72 a Scottish religious reformer and historian.  They met at the Manse and the Hospitality Cottage at the Desert Mission grounds.  This club lasted about a year.
After this club the boys formed another club. These pals, all from the Desert Mission, felt that the name of the other club was a little too regal for them. As they sat around a bonfire near Dunlap and 12th Street thinking of a name and thinking that the name Knoxinian was a little to regal for them, suggestion began to flow.  Suggestions for names were: Desert Rats, which was what they were, but they needed a little classier name and then Order of Desert Rats was suggested.  Then one of the members there was Sunny Snelling whose real name was LLoyal Snelling,  George Vest piped up and said, “how about Loyal Order of the Desert Rats. “  That was the name and all voted on the name, hence L.O.D.R.
When time came for the group to break up that night they had to put out the fire.  As George said, “there was no water to douse the fire so they all stood up around the fire and put the fire out in a manly way.  The fire was out and they all went home.
These men went through high school together and most of them went into the service in the early 1940s. They lost contact with each other.  They all got married and their lives all went in a different direction.
In 1989, when the Sunnyslope Historical Society started the word go out.  One of the men who lived in Sunnyslope, Bill Parks, came to an initial meeting held by the Society.  He notified members of the L.O.D.R men that he had addresses for.  Before long many of them were coming to meetings of the Society and taking part in events held by the Society.  Some of the men sat on the Society Board.These men and their wives began to meet and reminisce of their days at the Desert Mission, which was a very important time of their lives.
As founder of the Society I have always felt good about the fact that the Society brought these people back together again.  They all have been through a lot including marriage, sickness and death of some but Sunnyslope, especially the Desert Mission was a special place for all of them.
Connie Kreamer, May 2, 2009