I was honored to serve on the Worship Team at Fremont under Chaplain Dan's direction for about fourteen years. It is impossible to find the words that would encompass how he touched so many hearts and helped so many men through extraordinarily difficult circumstances during his time as a chaplain at Fremont. The Lord used him to reach the congregation through his spirit-filled sermons, and help men on an individual basis through his wise counsel.
Even while his eyes were in pain from surgeries, he would be there. When his ears were bothered by noise from his hearing aids, or his heart condition was causing him extreme fatigue, he was there. With eyes that saw past the surface of things, ears that listened with empathy, and a heart that was overflowing with compassion, he was there.
When my mother was in the hospital, Dan and Lt. Narva Courtney went out of their way to work through the procedures necessary to drive me to Denver so I would be able to spend some time with her in her last hours. This was God's love and compassion working through His people. We are in debt to Sandi and all of Dan's family for the immeasurable time that they shared him with us.
While he had helped me through countless situations and difficulties, and we shared so many beautiful, spirit-filled times, there is one service that stands out to me as the best picture of Chaplain Dan. At an Easter, Resurrection Day service, I read my favorite verse, “…By His great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Chaplain Dan told the congregation how he preferred the translation that read “…we have been born anew to a lively hope…” We began singing the old hymn, “He Lives!” About the time we began the second verse, Dan said to the congregation, “Wait a minute, wait a minute… Worship Team, stop playing, stop singing. What are we singing about? Our Lord and Savior was dead, and now He lives. Do we want to keep this a secret?! Or do we want to shout about it?! We should be singing at the top of our lungs! He asked us to begin playing again, leading us through “He Lives!” with such energy, enthusiasm, and joy; the Holy Spirit working through him and touching every heart in the room, touching people walking down the hallway outside the chapel… a joy that would not be contained! For all of the times I've seen him bless others, and bless me, that Resurrection Morning stands out as the most vivid image of who Chaplain Dan was: the most committed, joy-filled servant of Jesus I have ever known.
Although we will miss him dearly, it fills my heart with happiness to know that, with that same joy and passion, he is singing with all of his heart in the presence of the Lord right now. We love you Chaplain Dan. We look forward to seeing you again before His heavenly throne.