Veteran’s Church provides another option


Veteran’s Church is located at 3201 Dairy Road in Melbourne.

Senior Life Jennifer H. Monaghan

At the end of a gravel path behind the VFW Post 4206 on Dairy Road in Melbourne, a small, quintessentially charming chapel rests.

For the past six months, a shed retrofitted by obviously talented craftsmen houses the Veteran’s Church.

Veteran’s Church is non-denominational, and its mission is to minister to veterans, military service members and their families.

“I am here to remind them (veterans) that the person they prayed to in the battlefield is here to help them out,” said the pastor, the Rev. Kenneth C. Torres.

Torres is an ordained Baptist preacher and a licensed chaplain. He has led the congregation of 30 for the past three years. He is proud that Veteran’s Church is the only chapel on a VFW site nationwide and worldwide.

“No other. We sprang up as an outreach to give our brothers and sisters another option.”

Torres was a combat medic for 25 years, serving in wars in Panama and Iraq. He now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, as do many of his congregants.

“I look like a regular person, but due to PTSD, it’s difficult,” he said.

Larry Morris, a member of the church, agreed.

“People like me don’t fit in the traditional churches. I don’t like the crowd,” Morris said. “I am a Vietnam vet with PTSD.”

“Traditional churches find it hard to minister to us veterans — not all vets look like me. Many are tatted up, they ride bikes, they have big beards” Torres said. “ All vets need a savior.”

The pastor, his wife Zulma, his daughter Kennian and the congregation regularly organize church-related activities such as Friday night dinners and sometimes entertainment.

They also are active in the community through distributing meals to panhandlers and collecting and distributing toys and clothes to those in need.

“This is not only a veteran’s church,” Torres said. “This is his house, and he loves us. So, anyone who walks through those doors, we will love them just the same. We are open to all.”

Hour-long services are held at 3 p.m. Sunday and at 7 p.m. Monday.

Veteran’s Church is located at 3201 Dairy Road in Melbourne. For information, go to its Facebook page.