Some Soldiers join the Army out of patriotism. Some join for the adventure. Others for the college benefits and financial gains. Then there’s the ones that join because a higher power directed them down that path.
Such is the case for 25-year-old Sgt. Andrew Higginson from Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, who serves as a religious support specialist in Headquarters and Headquarters Company for 1st Space Brigade, Fort Carson, Colorado.
As a devoted Christian who was raised as a Methodist, Higginson said he doesn’t fall under any particular denomination at this point in life. He’d rather not categorize himself, and is open to all sects, beliefs, and different religions.
To say religion is important to Higginson is an understatement, it is one of the defining principles of his life. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theology from Asbury University - a small, private Christian school in Kentucky. He coordinates and plans events at Prussman Chapel, the church at Fort Carson. He supports the brigade’s ministry team as well as assisting chaplains in their day-to-day duties, maintains reports and files data for religious operations.
Higginson’s bio caught my eye as I was reviewing his nomination for the recent 2021 Outstanding Enlisted Military Representative for the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Committee. He took runner up in the competition, which awards Soldiers for their above and beyond community service in the local area.
I had the opportunity to speak with Hutchinson and got to know a devout Christian Soldier who said his calling is to serve his God, who has instructed him to help people.
Q: What was your upbringing like? Were you raised in a strict religious household?
A: No, I wouldn’t say it was overly strict or religious. My dad didn’t become a Christian until I was 10. He rejected it until his grandfather died, but my parents didn’t force religion on me. I chose to live this way. I volunteered at my church four or five days a week, whether it was working with kids or going to youth group, I always tried to put my best foot forward and serve God.
Q: So you go off to college and choose to major in theology. Why this degree?
A: In high school I got expelled for doing something really stupid and really struggled with my faith. I did a couple fasts where I ate nothing but fruit, veggies and bread, then came to the conclusion that my life was about something more than just myself, so God called me toward the ministry and a degree in theology. I became a youth pastor after I graduated, then decided that ministry in the military would be a good option because I enjoy taking care of Soldiers.
Q: What is it about the role you play in the military you enjoy?
A: I’ve been through some dark times and great times with Soldiers here, walking alongside them and supporting them the best I can. In my two-and-a-half years here, I’ve seen suicide, spousal abuse and some really bad things, but I have been able to support Soldiers through the bad, and the good, like Soldiers promoting and growing their careers. This is my favorite aspect about my position; the support through the ups and downs of Soldiers’ lives.
Q: What is God’s purpose for you in the grand scheme of things?
A: Great question. I really don’t know what is going to happen in my life down the road. I can plan and plan, but ultimately, if God is the director of time and history, then I can’t do too much about it. So the big picture is to serve and live my life for him.
Q: So where does your military career go from here?
A: I am reclassing as a CID (criminal investigative division) agent in a few months. It’s a good move for me personally and professionally as it’s just another avenue to help Soldiers out. Whether it’s keeping someone out of prison, or protecting someone by helping prosecute someone that deserves to go to jail, in either case, you are taking care of the Soldiers around you.
Q: How has your time spent in SMDC been?
A: I’ve enjoyed it. My leadership has been excellent. I’ve had some great commanders and opportunities to set myself apart from my peers. I’ve grown a lot as a person, personally and professionally and Colorado Springs is a great place to live. I’ve really enjoyed the outdoors and scenery here. Great first duty station, but it’s time to move on down the path God has chosen for me.