By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff
BOSSIER CITY – David Bailey, a special agent with the U.S. Capitol Police, does not consider himself a hero, but he saved the life of Louisiana native and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise during a firefight at a practice last year for the annual Congressional Baseball Game in Washington, D.C.
Bailey, who was injured in that June 14 incident, was at the First Baptist Church in Bossier City, Aug. 26 of this year and shared during the fourth annual “Honor Our Heroes Sunday” how his faith enabled him to overcome some resulting difficulties.
He was joined in the program by former Air Force Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone, and they as well as local police, firemen, military and first responders were honored during the service and at a breakfast and lunch on the church grounds. Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, a Southern Gospel quartet, provided special music.
“God gave me gifts, and I want to be able to use them,” Bailey told the 2,000 members and guests gathered inside the worship center at First Bossier. “Whichever way I need to use them, whichever way I have to use them, I will use them. I’m glad I’m in this position. I never would have thought this 10 years ago when I applied to join the Capitol police.”
Scalise, who represents Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District, said during a pre-recorded video message he would not be alive without Bailey’s act of heroism.
“That day over a year ago where the shooter came out, he was shooting at all of us,” Scalise said. “So many times people run away from the danger. David Bailey ran toward the danger.”
During a time of invitation at the end of the service, 81 people indicated their desire to repent and follow Christ. Brad Jurkovich, senior pastor of First Bossier, said leaders will follow up about discipleship and baptism with each person who made a decision.
“With our Honor Our Heroes Sunday there is a unique opportunity to share the hope of Christ,” Jurkovich told the Baptist Message. “Knowing that 81 people accepted Jesus as their Savior that day is extremely encouraging to build relationships and be bold with the Gospel.”
A leisurely train ride to Paris, France, on Aug. 21, 2015, quickly turned into a ride of terror for Stone and two of his childhood friends after a terrorist began attacking passengers.
Multiple times the gunman attempted to kill the men in his attempt to overtake the train, but God protected them throughout the rescue attempt, Stone said during his testimony at First Bossier.
Stone, whose story was featured in the film “15:17 to Paris,” said his faith played a pivotal role in helping him persevere.
“God is someone I can rely on and give my problems to – to alleviate the weight of life – especially since that day,” Stone said. “I’ve been pretty strong in my life, but more than ever now. There’s no doubt in my mind that my entire life was God-orchestrated and I was used by Him that day as a vessel.”
Honoring local heroes
This year’s program featured a new element – the Hero of the Year Award that includes a $1,000 cash award for a hero in the categories of active military, active law enforcement and active firefighters in the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area. United States Air Force Captain Khalisha Starr, Corporal Justin McDonnel with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office and Jae-Preston Pollard with the Shreveport Fire Department were named winners from among 15 finalists.
Jurkovich told the Baptist Message his ability to preach freely in America is due largely because of the sacrifices and courage of those serving in law enforcement, military and emergency medical services.
“Honor Our Heroes is a very exciting gathering where the First Bossier Family can intentionally serve all those who serve our cities and nation every single day,” he said. “We get the opportunity to let all individuals and families serving in our Fire, Police and Military know that God loves them, we love them and that they are not alone.”