The death of three pastors from Grace Christian Center late Thursday hit the Killeen Fire Department hard with the loss of chaplain Steve Timmerman.

“We are feeling this huge loss right now,” said Chief Jerry Gardner. “The rank-and-file firefighters, I’ve got many that are very distraught today.”

Timmerman died Thursday night after a van he drove went off the road and rolled over while traveling on State Highway 130. The crash killed fellow pastors Terry and Jan Whitley, who were passengers.

Timmerman began volunteering as a KFD chaplain in 2002, a position that supports firefighters who may need someone to talk to after being exposed to traumatic events. He was trained as a critical stress debriefer.

“Anytime we had a bad incident or a bad medical call, Steve would take the initiative to talk to firefighters and make sure they were OK,” Gardner said.

The department has two other chaplains who will work to fill the void.

“My heart is just extremely heavy with his passing,” said Kenny Rawls, a fellow KFD chaplain. “He had a real gift with pastoral care.”

Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin ordered all flags at city facilities to be flown at half-staff after learning of Timmerman’s death.

“The city of Killeen is greatly saddened by the loss of Chaplain Timmerman, who was a valuable member of our fire department for more than a decade,” Corbin said in a statement.

Timmerman was the senior associate pastor at Grace Christian Church. His service at the church began in 1999.

He spent 22 years in the Army and retired as a sergeant major and was a former firefighter.

Flags will remain at half-staff until the sunrise after Timmerman’s funeral. Services are pending.

Contact Philip Jankowski at or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.

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