Chaplain's spiritual roadmap steered her to military service
July 17, 2014
A single moment of clarity during her college years led Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Paige K. Heard into a life of service to the Lord.
Heard, the new Army Contracting Command chaplain said as a little girl in Peachtree City, Georgia, she wanted to go to the heavens, but in a different capacity.
"I wanted to be an astronaut," she said. "I never thought or dreamed about being a preacher."
She didn't discover her pastoral calling until she was a student at Auburn University, Alabama.
"I spent one summer overseas doing Christian mission work in the Netherlands," Heard said. "While on that trip, I felt compelled to serve God in a ministry vocation. I thought that I wanted to serve as a missionary, but while in seminary it became clearer to me that I would serve God in the chaplaincy."
Soon after graduating from college, Heard entered the Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from the seminary, she found herself behind bars.
"My first ministry after seminary began in the 1990s as a prison chaplain for a women's correctional facility in Georgia," said Heard, who is one of five siblings, one of which is her twin sister Paula.
After staff reductions and a change in management philosophy by the state, Heard left the corrections department and began seeking a new way to follow her desired path. Five years later, that path was paved in camouflage.
"I wanted to be a chaplain and the Army provided the opportunity for me to be one," said Heard, who has been in the Army for 17 years. "I joined the Army as a chaplain and I've loved my service in the military."
Prior to joining ACC, Heard served as the Redstone Arsenal Garrison chaplain. As the ACC chaplain, Heard hopes she can help everyone recognize and develop the spiritual dimension of their lives.
"We all want to know our purpose and our significance for living," said Heard. "I believe that we must continually keep a check on our actions. Are they aligned with our values and beliefs? If there are any incongruencies in that area it can affect our quality of life."
Heard said growing up in her church surroundings, there never was an opportunity for her to see a woman serve as the pastor/minister.
"I did not see a female role model," she said. "But I realize today that I am one for others to see. I don't take that opportunity lightly. Whenever I can, I go to local churches to share about the ministry that I'm involved in."
After normal duty hours, or what would be normal hours for a chaplain, Heard enjoys spending time with her family.