Last month, Chaplain (Col.) Terry L. Whiteside arrived at Fort Meade from Germany, where he served as senior garrison chaplain for three years at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart.
When Whiteside was delayed while boarding a plane to the U.S., his first thought was to think positive as he was reminded of a scripture in Romans 8:28:
“All things work together for good.”
Due to a misspelling on his itinerary, Whiteside was subject to a significant delay while he endured a very thorough security scrutiny and verification of his travel documents and purpose.
The new senior garrison chaplain at Fort Meade, Whiteside recalled this experience — adding a good dose of well-received humor —to a small gathering of service members, DoD civilians, contractors, retirees and family members during his first monthly Installation Prayer Breakfast held July 6 at Club Meade.
Spc. Kenaysia Morris of Headquarters, Headquarters Company said she appreciated Whiteside’s optimism.
“It was a help to me,” she said. “It was a good way to start off your day.”
Whiteside, replaces Chaplain (Col.) Warren E. Kirby Jr., who served at Fort Meade for three years. Kirby will formally retire Oct. 1 after 34 years in the Army.
During his prayer breakfast message, Whiteside preached about how the Apostle Paul traveled from town to town, city to city, spreading the Gospel. Paul was often welcomed by communities, other times he was shunned.
Paul was “deployed as a soldier for God,” Whiteside said. “To me, this is Paul’s testimony of his deployments — of his time with people who supposedly loved him, cared about him, but yet stoned him, hollered and caused malice toward him. … Yet, Paul maintained his testimony to reach out and talk to people about God. He had a belief in God that overcame all obstacles.”
Whiteside said that despite the bad things that may happen in life, “there’s still happiness — and that’s what we have to find here today. There is still happiness in God. [This is] joy.”
A native of Louisville, Ky., Whiteside said he was called to serve God early in life.
“I’ve always felt that I have the gift of encouragement, the gift of faith,” he said. “I like to open doors. With each new door, another opportunity exists to share my faith with others.”
In 1983, Whiteside earned a bachelor’s degree in religion at Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Ky. While in college, he met Beverly Lowrie and the couple married in 1979.
Whiteside went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Seminary in 1983.
As an ordained Baptist minister, Whiteside ministered at churches in Tennessee, and then served as a church planter apprentice in Michigan for the Southern Baptist Convention in 1986. He was charged with starting a new church.
“In this new church, most of the membership was assigned to Selfridge Air National Guard Base,” he said.
With encouragement from them, and following in the footsteps of his father who served in the Army Reserve, Whiteside joined the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps in January 1989.
His first duty station was Chaplain Basic Training at Fort Monmoth, N.J.
Whiteside continued his chaplain missions with assignments that included 1-32 Armor Battalion chaplain, Fort Hood, Texas; 1-31 Field Artillery Battalion chaplain, Fort Sill, Okla.; ethics instructor, Soldier Support Institute, Fort Jackson, S.C.; chaplain resource manager, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and 214th Field Artillery Brigade chaplain, Fort Sill.
Whiteside is no stranger to Fort Meade, having served from 2004 to 2006 as the chaplain for the 1st Recruiting Brigade, and then as the command chaplain for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.
He went on to serve as the senior garrison chaplain for Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, before deploying to Stuttgart for three years as the senior garrison chaplain.
The Whitesides are the parents of two adult sons, Kenneth and Jonathan, and have three granddaughters. Both sons have served in the Army. Jonathan is a Purple Heart recipient.
As the new senior garrison chaplain, Whiteside said he plans to continue the religious support to meet the diverse religious needs of the growing community.
“We have a unique opportunity here because it is a joint base,” he said.
Whiteside said he also wants to ensure that the installation’s diverse religious leaders and ministries know they have “an open line of communication to our office.”
Whiteside said the garrison’s religious community is made up of many diverse faiths.
“The Garrison Chaplain’s Office is here to perform or provide religious services to all,” he said. “All people assigned to Fort Meade have the right to exercise their religion.”
Whiteside said he considers Fort Meade to be a family.
“We are all part of God’s family,” he said. “We can come together in peace and show love for one another.”
In his spare time, Whiteside enjoys reading, working puzzles and assembling model cars.
Whiteside said he and his family consider it a blessing to, once again, be a part of the Fort Meade community.
“I’m happy to be here,” he said. “Bev and I are thrilled to renew friendships and to meet new friends.”
As the senior chaplain, Whiteside challenges the community to think positively.
“I love it here,” he said. “For God and country.”