U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn said Friday that he hopes the new name of the Briargate Post Office will remind people of Chaplain Captain Dale Goetz's patriotism and courage, as well as the courage and service of all military chaplains.
"Chaplain Goetz was a man of unwavering faith and repeatedly answered the call of duty to serve his country," said Lamborn. "His devotion to others and his love of country were an example to all."
The Colorado Springs Republican spoke at a ceremony to rename the post office at 8585 Criterion Drive for the Army captain who was killed in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device on Aug. 30, 2010 — the first chaplain killed in action since the Vietnam War.
Lamborn sponsored legislation proposing the name change, and it was approved unanimously last year in both the House and Senate. It was signed into law in December by former President Donald Trump.
Christy Goetz Bixby, the chaplain's widow, said the entire family was "grateful and overwhelmed" by the ceremony, which was attended by more than 200 people from around the country.
"Dale lived his life passionately, pursuing the Lord at every moment," she said. "His zeal for God's love was contagious. This post office is a fitting tribute in remembering our husband, father, son, brother, friend and chaplain. We are honored.”
Major General Thomas Solhjem, the Army's chief of chaplains, said Goetz "paid the ultimate price in carrying out his sacred duty of ‘Caring for the Soul of the Army.' "
Said Solhjem: "Chaplain Goetz exemplified the highest levels of commitment and self-sacrifice in ‘Bringing God to Soldiers and Soldiers to God’ in Afghanistan and everywhere he served. All of us who continue that same mission today, for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardians are honored by this event, and by the recognition given to our colleague in ministry.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder in our own commitment to God and Country, to carry on the legacy of Chaplain Goetz, by ensuring that no one in our nation’s uniforms goes into harm’s way without spiritual support.”
Among those in attendance were retired Army chaplain Ray Bailey, retired Army Reserve chaplain Ray Woolridge, Bishop Derek L.S. Jones of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty and Dr. Kevin Bauder of the Central Baptist Seminary. Representatives were also on hand from Colorado Springs, El Paso County, the military bases in Colorado and the U.S. Postal Service.