INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) –There’s a new member of the Colts who fans may have noticed at camp over the last few weeks. He’s a big guy, about six foot four inches tall, but he won’t be making any tackles or scoring any points for the team.
“My life has been of service and giving of myself to others and if I’m not serving others, I’m not happy,” Father Douglas Hunter said.
He’s the new Colts Chaplain, a Catholic priest with an unexpected background.
“Initially, I believe the call came around fourth grade,” Hunter said.
Father Hunter of St. Roch in Indianapolis says he felt that call to the church when serving mass as a child.
But at 15 years old, Hunter found his father dead. It was a tragedy that impacted his path to priesthood. Hunter’s grades dipped. He said he couldn’t get into any four-year colleges or universities.
“When I came to the archdiocese, the archdiocese was very welcoming and loving, they said go to a two-year school and come back and see us,” Hunter said. “Well by then, I went and worked at several different companies and then got into law enforcement.”
Yes, Father Douglas Hunter was first Deputy Douglas Hunter with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. He was there for eight years before joining IMPD for another two years.
“During that time, I used to oversee the cadet and exploration program, the high school youth program, and a lot of community crime watch events and different things of that aspect, in addition to McGruff the crime dog,” Hunter said.
His servant’s heart found a home in law enforcement, but the pull to become a priest never subsided.
Now, Hunter says his experience in police work has made him a better church leader.
“I’m not afraid to hold a dying person’s hand. I’m not afraid to wipe their brow with a cool cloth. I’m not afraid to hug people in the midst of chaos,” Hunter said.
And chaos can happen anywhere, even on a football field.
“I’m a big sports fan,” Hunter said. “But when you remove the football aspect, they’re human beings like the rest of us. The only difference is, they’re a little taller and a little wider than some of us.”
As the new Colts Chaplain, Hunter provides a presence for the players. He’s a positive pillar, there for prayer and support and maybe a little favor from the big guy upstairs.
“I pray for the safety and health and well-being of the players, but you know every once and a while, ok, Lord, give me a win. That’s all I ask for,” Hunter said laughing while sitting in a pew at St. Roch.
A few more fun facts about Father Hunters. He’s a third degree black belt and he recently competed in a local dancing with the stars competition. Father Hunter is one of three religious leaders who serve the Indianapolis Colts throughout the season. Each represents a different religious denomination.