December 30, 2015
Papa Ward, the pastor of Logos Christian Fellowship church in Leesburg, died Christmas day. Those who knew him best say it was fitting that Ward, who brought hope to so many, died on Christ's birthday -- celebrated in the Christian faith as a day of hope.
Papa Chris WardLong before there was a Project SOS, a veterans aid organization that, in part, helps homeless veterans living in the Ocala National Forest, there was Chris Ward.
Gary Kadow, Pastor Chris Ward, and Deb and Bob Peters pose for a photo on the day after Thanksgiving, a day spent worming with homeless people in the Ocala National Forest.
The one-time Army Airborne Ranger, who became a minister after leaving the service, had been tromping across the pine needles and through the thickets of the forest looking for campgrounds where homeless veterans retreated to wrestle in solitude with the demons they brought back from the battlefield.
He brought them food, fresh water, clothing, blankets -- anything to soften their rugged day-to-day existence. But most of all, he brought something most people couldn't. He brought understanding, the kind of understanding that only another combat veteran could offer.
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