Chaplain Rodger R. Venzke, U.S. Army (Ret.), received the silver St. Martin of Tours medal July 14 in Houston. The award, presented by LCMS World Mission’s Ministry to the Armed Forces, is given to military personnel for exceptionally meritorious service.
Venzke, the 18th LCMS chaplain to receive the award, was honored for his compassionate, Christ-centered guidance to LCMS chaplains, especially after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He was also honored for bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ “faithfully and ceaselessly to the men and women of the Armed Forces,” according to the Synod’s armed forces ministry office.
Venzke served from 1996 to 2004 as director of the Synod’s Ministry to the Armed Forces.
A graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Venzke served as a pastor in northern Minnesota before entering active duty as an Army chaplain in 1963. As a battalion chaplain, he accompanied his unit to Vietnam and Germany.
Later, he served as a member of the U.S. Army Chaplain Board and editor of The Military Chaplains’ Review, a professional journal for armed forces chaplains.
In 1981, he was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe, as the personnel actions officer for chaplains. Four years later he was named executive officer to the Army’s chief of chaplains and in 1989 became command chaplain for the U.S. Military District of Washington.
After more than 27 years of service, Venzke retired from the Army in 1990 to become a mission developer for the Synod’s Southeastern District and founded King of Glory Lutheran Church in Williamsburg, Va.
Posted July 29, 2010