Next in my series on deacon candidates for the Diocese of Knoxville is David Duhamel of St. Mary’s Church in Oak Ridge, TN.
Tell me about your family.
My wife, Anna, and I have been married for 22 years. We met in Memphis where I was stationed for the Marine Corps and Anna was working as a teacher for the deaf/auditory therapist. We have six biological children and one adopted son. Our oldest is from Ethiopia and we adopted him in 2012. Gashaw is now 25 years old, a graduate of UTK with a degree in accounting, living in Atlanta. Laure is 20 and attends TN Tech University studying early education. Joe is 19, attending UT-Chattanooga, studying applied mathematics. Rebecca is a senior at KCHS and is the captain of the Atomic rowing women’s team and Sarah is a sophomore at KCHS, where she sings in the chorale group and rows for Atomic rowing club. Elise is seven, a lover of all things “horses”, she will be making her first Holy Communion this month, and Timmy is four years old and works every day to bring a smile to our faces and excitement to our lives.
Are you from East TN?
I was born in Massachusetts, growing up I lived in New Jersey, New York, and Illinois. After joining the
Marines, I was stationed in Quantico, VA Camp Pendleton in California, and in Memphis, TN. Our family moved to Oak Ridge in 2005 from Maryland, after I got a job as a federal agent for the Department of Energy.
What work do you do?
I work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a project manager/security consultant that focuses on
assisting foreign partners in keeping their high consequence materials secure.
What brought you to your parish?
We moved to Oak Ridge in 2005 and St Mary’s has been our parish home for over 17 years!
What service have you done for your parish?
I’ve taught religious education and assisted in the youth ministry. Now I serve as a lector, sacristan, and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. In addition to those ministries, I serve on the parish Finance Council and the Youth Committee. I am also active in the Knights of Columbus and have served as the Grand Knight for two years. Outside of the parish, I have served as an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 224, and have volunteered with the Diocesan Under the Bridge ministry at KARM and the Oak Ridge Rowing Association – Youth Rowing program.
What service have you done for the diocese?
I’m a member of their security committee, a group of security professionals who have offered to assist the parishes with security consultations.
What drew you to the diaconate program?
It was something a spiritual director had invited me to consider when I got back from Iraq. A seed was planted that slowly grew. Throughout my time in the military and especially with my family, my faith became a primary focus…in addition to that, I’ve been drawn to serve others. I saw this most clearly by the example of my father. A loving and holy person, he laid the foundation of my faith. He was a tremendous faith mentor for me. And through him and with my mother and brother, I came to see the value of my faith in my early adulthood. Lastly, I truly feel called to serve God in his Church.
What has been most rewarding about the diaconate formation?
The most rewarding aspect for me was being surrounded by such good, humble, and holy men, my
brother candidates. I also benefited from such knowledgeable and faithful teachers as Sr. Anna Marie,
Deacon Joe Stackhouse, and Deacon Tim Elliott. The diaconate formation program provided me a great opportunity to learn and grow in my faith – going deeper into scripture, the Church, and our Faith. It really has been a true gift. In Addition, after our first year, our formation took place at Christ Prince of Peace Retreat Center. I couldn’t say enough good things about having this place – it allowed all the candidates to come together, study, worship, and explore our faith through fellowship.
Have there been any challenges?
Yes! The biggest challenge has been time (or rather the lack thereof) – trying to make everything work between my family, my job, and our studies. I am not sure there is such a thing as life/work balance, for me, it is more like life-work juggling!
What are your hopes as a deacon?
To humbly and faithfully serve my fellow Catholic brothers and sisters. To share the faith, helping others to see the Glory of God in their lives.
Please pray for David and his family.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.