“It’s not often a man has his two greatest loves combined, preaching God’s word and then preaching it to horsemen that I truly love,” Brown said.
Q: What is your title?
I’m a Chaplain at Evangeline Downs and serve as a board member on the Evangeline Downs RTCA Council. I’ve also been a policeman for 20 years, 17 at the Opelousas Police Department where I currently work as a Sergeant teaching D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) to students.
Q: How many years have you been a chaplain at Evangeline Downs?
Almost a year now.
Q: Did you do hold any other positions at your current track before you became chaplain?
I have been a licensed horse trainer since 1991 and have trained both quarter horses and thoroughbreds successfully winning races, but I’ve never felt like I do now when we win a soul to Christ.
Q: How would you describe your role as chaplain?
It has always been my pleasure to serve others. Even when I feel down, when I help others, it lifts my spirits. Helping others and seeing their happiness is more gratifying to me than anything this world could ever give me.
Q: How many services do you offer each week?
Monday is football night and/or wrestling night on TV. Tuesday is our church service where we meet, greet and eat after the service. We provide transportation to grocery stores on Fridays. We also have a food bank and several other programs to assist kids with after school tutoring.
Q: How many total people on average attend your services each week?
30 to 80
Q: Do you have a staff? If so, how many people?
My mother and my wife assist part time but there are also about 10 people who volunteer weekly who do an awesome job.
Q: Any examples of programs you started at the racetrack?
Project HOPE is for the kids on the backside. It offers many opportunities to learn English and get homework assistance. Also, we make sure all kids have a book back filled with school supplies regardless of whether they are in school or not. We want kids in the right frame of mind so when it’s their turn to begin school, they will be ready. We also are starting a Groom of the Week program.
Q: Describe the scope of the work you do for the folks who work on the backside.
Besides being their spiritual leader, I am their friend. I once lived in the same tack rooms that some live in today. I know what I wanted on the backside and I’m trying my best to make it come to pass for them.
Q: What are some of your greatest challenges?
Being a policeman was a bit odd at first for some on the race track. Once people saw the advantages that come with knowing a local policeman, they take advantage of it, especially when they get citations!
Q: How have you worked to overcome these challenges?
I assure them that I am still their chaplain and that I am a resource whenever needed.
Q: Do you have a specific story of a challenge you’ve overcome and how you overcame it?
Perhaps the toughest choice I’ve had to make in my life was when I was contemplating whether or not to stop training horses. I prayed and trusted God but I did not know what God had in store for me. Four months later, the chaplain job was offered to me and I graciously accepted. If I had been training horses, I would never have been afforded this great opportunity. It’s not often a man has his two greatest loves combined, preaching God’s word and then preaching it to horsemen that I truly love. This is a blessing only God could have provided.
Q: What would you say to encourage other racetrack chaplains?
Stay in touch with other chaplains and keep positive people in your life because at times you will get down and they will pick you back up.
Q: Do you have a favorite scripture you’d like to share?
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.” (KJV) Romans 8:28