'Disaster Pastor' to deliver message“When a person joins the military, they give up every freedom with the exception of the freedom of faith,” Blom said. “I do not have nuclear six guns on my hip; it’s all about the cross on my uniform.”
By: Crystal Dey, Alexandria Echo Press
The official unofficial beginning of summer commences on Memorial Day each year. This year’s Memorial Day keynote speaker, “Disaster Pastor” Phil Blom, will deliver a remembrance speech in Alexandria following the parade on May 28.
Blom devoted 31 years to ordained ministry in various parishes and churches before retiring from both the ministry and military in 2011.
He dedicated 28 years of service as a military Chaplain in the United States Air Force (USAF) Reserves where he taught core values for leadership at the USAF Academy.
“When a person joins the military, they give up every freedom with the exception of the freedom of faith,” Blom said. “I do not have nuclear six guns on my hip; it’s all about the cross on my uniform.”
Blom catered compassionately to the needs of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. His brother, Dave Blom of Alexandria, witnessed the trauma of war while serving in Vietnam. The moniker “Disaster Pastor” is derived from Blom’s personal experiences. He witnessed the Red River Valley flood of 1997 in the Fargo-Moorhead area. His calling brought him to the Pentagon after 9/11 where he was crisis action team chaplain in 2001 and in 2005, Blom came to the aid of people who had suffered the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.
Blom prefers the term “refired” to retired stating that retired means tired twice, whereas refired indicates an inspired future. Blom was recently inspired by the Bible verse, 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and you may have good health just as it is well with your soul.” His most recent endeavor was with the Healthy Leaders Initiative based on the Inter-Lutheran Ministry of Health and Wellness.
The Alexandria Memorial Day parade will march from 8th Avenue and Broadway Street to a service held at Kinkead Cemetery where Blom will deliver his address. Line up starts at 9:15 a.m. in Legion Park. The parade begins at 10 a.m. with the service at 11 a.m.
The city encourages people to bring American flags and join veterans groups, military, law enforcement, the fire department, civic organizations and the Jefferson High Band in the parade.