Veteran Chaplaincy CEO/Founding Chaplain Denny Madory with his wife, Angela, and his son, Lonnie, who attends Southwestern College on a soccer scholarship. Madory, who served in the Air Force is building up his nonprofit through a corporate sponsorship program in order to provide chaplaincy services free of charge to local veterans.
Whether serving in the United States Air Force, working on the mission field in Kenya, or serving as a corporate chaplain, Denny Madory has always answered the call.
After moving to Cleveland County after the mission field and helping a Moore church rebuild, he saw another need that needed to be met: military veterans returning from service are far more likely to commit suicide.
Veterans have access to chaplaincy services while in the military, but not once they retire. Add that to research by the Barna Group that 70 percent of the workforce is unchurched, and therefore outside of pastoral care, and Madory saw a clear need.
“As a disabled veteran, I have a real heart for veterans and the lack of places they have to turn to,” he said. “The VA has mental health services but, statistically speaking, the number of veterans who are willing to pursue those is minimal. They’re much more likely to talk with a chaplain, especially one who is a veteran, than a psychiatrist or a psychologist.”
So he founded an metro-based nonprofit, Veteran Chaplaincy Services, with the goal of providing services to area veterans free of charge. In order to support the mission, Madory added a secondary component: partnering with local businesses in a corporate sponsorship program to raise funding.
Madory previously worked for a corporate chaplaincy company, one of the largest in the nation, and was one of only handful of corporate chaplains operating in Oklahoma, so he understood the need for businesses to have access to the kind of care he provides as well.
“The demand is there, because the world is not getting any easier,” he said. “Things get more and more stressful. So we wanted to be able to help every day, working Americans who are just trying to make a living: we want to be there for them.”
The first business to partner with Madory was Big Red Sports/Imports and Norman Mitsubishi. General Manager Andy Elliott said Madory’s work with the company’s staff has had a significant affect.
“It’s made a big difference,” he said. “There is a peace to sitting down and talking with someone you know isn’t going to judge you. People go through things that employers don’t have the ability to get into.”
The services are available to employees, but no one is required to use them. Madory pointed out that there is a difference between a pastor and a chaplain, and while he certainly provides a faith-based perspective, his mission isn’t to convert anyone. He visits employees once a week for 10-to-15 minute care sessions, and spends most of his time listening.
“We always reiterate the permission-based principle,” Madory said. “Our chaplains are theologically trained, and they’re ready to answer those kinds of questions, but what we work on is building relationships and personal care. If it’s not about spiritual things, there’s a whole list of other topics, stresses in people’s lives: relationships, parental advice, finances, etc.”
While Madory is not a licensed counselor, he can refer individuals to mental health professionals if they need that level of care.
He will also begin facilitating a pre-marriage and marriage counseling program, SYMBIS, for Big Red employees. Corporate chaplaincy has been shown to reduce turnover and improve employee morale. Elliott and Big Red Sports/Imports owner Chris Mayes’ goal is to provide another service for their employees.
“They know he’s there to help,” Elliott said. “Chris has a big heart for veterans and for his employees, so this made a lot of sense to us. We’re taking care of our employees who, in turn, take care of the company.”
Madory lives in Moore with his wife Angela, who works at Community Christian Schools, his daughter Madi, son Lonnie and daughter Jentrie. Madi competes in the Special Olympics as weightlifter, and has won state medals and is a national gold medalist. Lonnie is attending Southwestern College in Kansas on a soccer scholarship.
Madory is hoping to partner with more area businesses to support his work with veterans. If you or your business is interested in finding out more about Veteran Chaplaincy Services, call 833-827-8326 or visit vcsok.org.