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After 37 Years, Chaplain Doug Eldridge Returns to Turfway Park

Monday, June 17, 2013 12:00 AM
  • General
FLORENCE, Ky. (June 17, 2013) – Rev. Doug Eldridge, who served as Turfway Park’s first chaplain 37 years ago, has returned to the Northern Kentucky Thoroughbred racetrack to again serve as chaplain. Eldridge's appointment was confirmed June 1 by the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy (KRTC), a division of the national Race Track Chaplaincy of America.

Eldridge replaces Bobby Aldridge, who took the reins from the retiring Tom Farley in December to see the track through its winter/spring meet before his own retirement. With the track open for summer stabling and training, the new assignment ensures a seamless transition and continuity of outreach.

"The Kentucky division of the Race Track Chaplaincy is happy to be able to provide a full time chaplain to serve those who live and work at Turfway Park," said KRTC president Pam Sears. "We look forward to Doug developing new programs and creating opportunities to positively affect the lives of those who work in the racing industry. One of Doug's priorities will be to develop relationships both with individuals and organizations within the Northern Kentucky area. We encourage interested groups to reach out to him to become a part of this unique ministry."

Eldridge holds services at the track on Mondays at 7:00 p.m. but ministry also occurs daily in the barns where he meets those who live and work on the backside. The ministry also includes a community center where backside workers can find coffee and conversation and a trailer where residents can obtain clothing, towels, sheets, and personal care items.

Asked about his ministry at the track, Eldridge said, "It's like having your own mission field close to home. Jesus said, 'Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,' and the backside is comprised of many nationalities. My vision is to unite everyone through the unchanging word of God and his steadfast love."

Eldridge has experience not only in ministry but also in law enforcement. He first came to Turfway Park, then Latonia, during the 1977 winter/spring meet while still a student at Cincinnati Christian University, from which he was graduated in 1978. Leaving Turfway at the end of the meet, he accepted the pastorate at Antioch Church of Christ in Corinth, Ky., where he served for three years. From 1980 to 2002, he was a member of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport Police. During his last five years there, 1997 to 2002, Eldridge also served as pastor of Belleview Church of Christ in rural Boone County. He currently is the pastor of the Hebron Church of Christ since 2002 and continues to volunteer his service as the airport's public safety chaplain and as chaplain to the Hebron Fire Department.

Eldridge is available to speak to groups, schools, and churches about his work at Turfway and the needs of the backside community. He can be reached at (859) 393-7756.

More information about the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy is available at www.kychaplaincy.org and at the KRTC Facebook page. Updates from the work at Turfway are available at the newly established Turfway Park Chaplaincy Team Facebook page.

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