NOLANVILLE — Gilbert “GL” Grace and Duane Hampton have a lot in common.
Both are family men and military veterans, and they’ve both spent the last two decades preaching God’s word to family and friends.
Now, the pair works as a team to provide spiritual support to the Nolanville Police Department.
Hampton has served as the department’s chaplain for about a year, and Grace joined the force about seven months ago.
“I think we are (bridging) the gap with the stress load of the police department, and I enjoy it,” Grace said.
A former Army staff sergeant, Grace saw his life change when he was saved in 1994.
“I received the Lord in my life and started studying in the flow of theology and later became a pastor,” he said.
Hampton, who also is a Nolanville councilman, retired from the Army as a chief warrant officer 3. Like Grace, his life also changed in the mid-1990s.
“I got saved in 1995,” he said. “I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, and while I was just working with the military the Lord just lead me to become a preacher in 1999.”
While in the Army, Hampton began preaching and conducting Bible studies with his fellow soldiers. He said the stress that police officers go through is quite similar to soldiers’ battlefield experiences.
“I’ve seen combat and things that they will see as police officers, such as deaths,” Hampton said. “One thing I think (police officers) will see is that they are continuously in that hyper-vigilant state with their surroundings, and sometimes they don’t know how to separate that and come off from that.”
As a family man, Hampton, who has four children with his wife, Lisa, stresses the importance of family to Nolanville officers. As chaplain, his goal is to reach out to the police officers and work with them as needed.
“I’ve had some that’s needed some guidance, so we just try to talk with them,” he said. “We are here to listen to them. It’s something I do not take lightly.”
Grace is also a family man. He and his wife, Danielle, and their two children are strong in their Christian faith, he said. Along with his chaplain duties, Grace also serves as full-time pastor of Balance Believer Ministries in Killeen.
When he’s not tending to the police force, Hampton can be found preaching to firefighters at Central Bell County Fire Department, running his own pressure-washing business and working a full-time job at Hotsy Carlson Equipment Co.
Although the two men are not sworn peace officers, they both said God called them to serve and support the police department.
“You can’t just take it as a title that you are a chaplain. … I take it seriously,” Grace said. “I look forward to serving more and being there for the officers.”