Chaplain Spotlight: Captain Vinal Lee
Captain Vinal Lee’s Salvation Army journey began with a group of friends and a skateboard. On a Friday night in Omaha, Nebraska, 13-year-old Vinal and his friends went skateboarding at the indoor skatepark at their local corps. After seeing a sign that read, “Chapel”, he asked his parents if they could attend the service on Sunday, with the intention he could continue to skateboard with his friends. Little did he know just how much his involvement in the church would continue to grow.
Capt. Vinal Lee was commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in 2015. Even before his commissioning, Capt. Vinal had been a volunteer with EDS. His passion for emergency response continued as an officer. Some of his deployments include:
- Madison IN, - Walnut Street Flood – Incident Commander – 2015
- Beaumont, TX - Hurricane Harvey – Canteen Ops and ESC – 2016
- Indianapolis IN – Tornado – Incident Commander - 2017
- Hanover, IN - Ohio River Flood – Incident Commander – 2018
- Greenwood, IN – Trench Rescue – Emotional and Spiritual Care Officer – 2019
- Indiana – COVID-19 – Incident Commander – 2020
- Fort McCoy, WI – Patriot North – Public Information Officer – 2021
To date, Vinal has completed 469 hours of disaster response training.
Capt. Vinal’s mission is connection. “Even God wants connection,” he shared.
"God wants community. It's built into who we are. We can more effectively spread the gospel when we just reach into ourselves and pull out what connects all of us, and that is our desire to be connected."
Capt. Vinal has been able to connect to an unreached audience by experimenting with short-form video content on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, sharing personal stories and the gospel. In one month, his social content reached nearly 28,000 individuals.
Capt. Vinal believes he wouldn’t be the officer he has become without the joint efforts of his wife, Capt. Brenna Lee. “There would be no success in our ministry if it wasn’t our ministry,” he explained. “I’m really good at about three things. Brenna, however, is good at everything.” He says his life is unimaginable without her extraordinary talents in creating programming and fellowship with others.
The Lees are excited about their recent move to Bloomington, Indiana. “Moving to Bloomington was definitely unexpected, but we are excited about it,” Capt. Vinal said. “This is our third move in Indiana and will be the fourth corps we’ve had the opportunity to run.” Capts. Vinal and Brenna feel like they have been called to guide their new corps forward. “I refuse to believe the best days of The Salvation Army are behind us, and I feel like we’ve been called to work in the present but dream forward.”