Mississippi Valley Presbytery teaching elder Lt. Col. Donald Malin has been selected as the Mississippi National Guard state chaplain, the highest chaplain appointment in the state.

Malin has served in the military for 30 years, 21 of which he spent as a chaplain with the Mississippi Army National Guard. He has completed tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and serves at Providence Presbyterian Church in Clinton, Miss., where he teaches apologetics and evangelism.

The Rev. John Reeves has been Malin’s pastor at Providence for 25 years. Reeves said Malin has been “committed to the chaplaincy and faithful service for a long time. [This appointment] is a recognition of all that he’s done over the years.”

Maj. Gen. Augustus Collins echoed those sentiments when he selected Malin for the position. In a statement from his office, Collins said he selected Malin “based upon his qualifications and record of achievements in many positions throughout the Mississippi Army National Guard.”

In addition to his service in the chaplaincy, Malin works for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at the Vet Center in Jackson, where he reaches out to veterans and encourages them to get the help they need from the Vet Center. Malin is also the executive director of CrossSwords, a ministry to veterans returning to life after active duty.

In his new appointment Malin will have the opportunity to continue his outreach to veterans. “I am looking forward to helping men and women who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, helping chaplains and churches identify veterans in their communities who need help, and helping veterans who are having problems,” he said.

Many reservists and members of the National Guard have served two to four tours of duty in the past 10 years, Malin said, and they have seen their worlds turned upside down. With the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), veterans need to know they can turn to churches and the faith community for help, and churches need to know how to help hurting veterans.

And while churches cannot require anything of veterans in return for assistance, Malin hopes churches will demonstrate Christ-like concern and compassion for hurting veterans. “We want to help churches understand PTSD, and ultimately connect veterans to Christ.”