COLUMBIA, S.C.— Col. Steven Shugart, outgoing state chaplain, passed the mantle of leadership to Col. Lawrence Dennis, chaplain, during a Changing of the Stole Ceremony at the adjutant general’s office in Columbia, S.C., July 13, 2013. The stole signifies the faithful execution of the spiritual mission of the Chaplain Corps.
"Chaplain Shugart assembled the finest chaplains and put them on a mission to take care of our soldiers and their families," said Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr., the adjutant general for South Carolina. Livingston called Shugart a "warrior's chaplain."
Shugart served as the state chaplain for over three years. Prior to holding that position, he deployed to Iraq with soldiers from South Carolina. During his time with the Guard, he has helped soldiers and family members weather difficult situations, life changes and the stresses of deployments.
Shugart said he became a Soldier to be more than what he was. To him, these three years have only felt like a minute. Shugart will be retiring from the Guard later this year.
"Thank you for letting me serve with you," Shugart said to the soldiers assembled in front of him. "It has been the greatest honor."
Dennis, who will take over the State Chaplain position, has also deployed with South Carolina troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has a deep understanding of the pressures and stress that soldiers endure.
Dennis humbly accepted the position of state chaplain, saying that he could never fill Shugart’s shoes.
"Steve wanted to run to the sound of a soldier's heart," Dennis said. "He's set the bar high and we will keep marching to the Soldier's needs."