Hi! My name is Adam Collins & my wife Stacie and I would like you to meet a Pastor, Army Chaplain & Dear Friend of ours in need of serious prayer & financial support. (Please read entirely. This is gut wrenching)

 

I first met Andy Hirko in 1998 & we played College Baseball together, at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fl. During those days, Andy became a Christian & he was On Fire for God. So much so that Andy hosted his first Bible Study at the place where I was living, and to this day Andy is still leading others to Christ; now in the Army. 

 

I am proud of him & his service to our Country, but he desperately needs our help. Chaplain Hirko is being removed from the Army and now needs all of our help with his move back to Florida!

 

The Mandate was dropped on August 24, 2021. Chaplain Hirko immediately submitted a Religious Accommodation against taking (let's call it "the juice"). Chaplain Hirko holds a Deeply held Religious Conviction over the manufacturing & ingredients in "the juice". Some people willingly took it, but he really felt convicted not to.

 

Sure, he got all the other required shots, but this one was made differently and in a fraction of the usual time frame. He truly felt like a Chaplain would have a shot at receiving a Religious Accommodation. After all, there is a Law, Section 533, (passed in 2013) that protects just the Chaplain Core from doing anything against their Conscience. Few Chaplains even know about this protection, but it's available to them! 

 

However, Chaplain Hirko had to wait a very long time to get an answer for his Accommodation. Traditional Army (D.O.D.) guidelines state that a Servicemember, once a Religious Accommodation is made, will receive an answer within 30 days. Chaplain Hirko painstakingly waited 248 days for an answer!! 

 

At one point-during their long wait, his wife Kristy even tried to talk him into taking it. Chaplain Hirko decided to pray about it again, then after 24 hours of praying and fasting, God impressed upon him not to take it. And 

after all, other service members who applied for Medical Accommodations were being approved, so why not his?


While Chaplain Hirko was waiting to get his Accommodation back, he also helped other Service members with filing their individual Religious Accommodations. He has helped 400 or so Service members. He also spoke to Service members from other posts because so few Chaplains seemed to even really care what was going on. 

 

In a recent phone call Chaplain Hirko said, "We started witnessing Service members losing all their retirement. They've deployed six or seven times, been separated from their families and missed Holidays and Birthdays and now are being treated like trash. For Kristy & I, that was unacceptable. We had to step up and do something." The Hirko family started a Soldiers Support Group for any Service member of any rank awaiting their Religious Accommodation Process. He told me they had about 90 Service members & they would meet for a pot-luck, prayer & community. "The networking & stories exchanged were so heartbreaking, but no Soldier should walk this road alone. So, I'm glad we could help." 

 

Chaplain Hirko's "Religious Accommodation" came back denied. 

 

Currently, Chaplain Hirko is an Active-Duty- Army Chaplain serving Servicemembers at the elite 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY. He is a Battalion Chaplain fot First-Strike, 1_502, but when his unit deployed to Romania-the Department of Defense told him he was "not deployable". 

 

Chaplain Hirko immediately appealed this decision and it also was denied!

 

So at that point he & his wife believed that the Army will be removing him within 45 days. Although, he is in a Class-Action Law Suit (42 Chaplains suing the D.O.D. over 1st Amendment Religious Freedoms). The case is moving slow & the judge has not made his Ruling. 

 

They do believe that a preliminary injunction is coming but at this point- they really have no protection. Soon, they will be kicked out with no help to move back & really few housing options. So, Chaplain Hirko is in the process of relocating his family back. If an injunction comes into place then he will just continue serving away from his family in what is known as a "Geo-Bachelor". This is a common occurrence in all Military Communities. 

 

He told me, "I didn't know what to do- I had to find a place to live for Kristy & our kids. I am still hoping for a positive ruling, but I am running out of time."

 

This family has been through the ringer. He enlisted at the age if 40 (Chaplains come in later & there is a shortage so the age cut off is 41). They sold everything & went all in. Officers have to purchase all of their various Uniforms & Gear. They looked at this as a career investment for their future, so they depleted all their Savings to join. Today, they are scrambling.

 

Now they are in major need of financial support. Would you consider giving to help this family relocate? This family will have to pay for moving expenses and closing costs on the purchase of a home. The army Chaplain position was much lower paying job than his prior occupation, but that was well worth for Chaplain Hirko and his family to make this sacrifice to serve Christ in this calling on their lives! They will have absolutely zero financial help from the Army.

 

My friend, Chaplain Hirko, will be the 1st ever Chaplain in the History of the Military to be kicked out over a Deeply held Religious Conviction. (Other Plaintiff Chaplains are still waiting to get their Appeals back & other branches have injunctions in place). The Army & Coast Guard does not have any protection. So, this Chaplain fell into an awful spot. 

 

Thank you all so much. 

 

Chaplain Hirko & his wife Kristy have been married for 20 years & they have 3 children. Prior to joining the Army, Pastor Andy worked at Good News Church in St. Augustine, Florida. They are relocating back to Northeast Florida so that Kristy can return to work at St. John's Academy.