David Holston has two jobs as different as you can imagine. With one he carries a gun, the other a Bible.
And he feels there is something that helps him succeed at both.
“You have got to have compassion. You need to feel for others and have a desire to help them,” said Holston.
The 60-year-old Holston works as a deputy marshal in Muscogee County. On Sunday, he will be installed as pastor at Antioch Baptist Church in Columbus.
For about a dozen years, Holston has led Elizabeth Missionary Baptist Church in Marvyn, Ala.
“It is a blessing to be coming to Antioch Baptist Church. I am in love with the people already,” he said.
He said being a Christian makes him a better law enforcement officer.
While he has been in law enforcement since 1980, it should not surprise anyone that he has also found time to also serve in church. His grandfather and father served as pastors as have a couple of uncles.
Holston is a Columbus native and Columbus High School graduate. He and his wife, Gail, have had five children together. One is deceased.
In his job as a deputy marshal he is often at places where people are being evicted.
“It is a tough time for people,” said Holston. “I try to comfort them. I have contacts and I want them to know there are places where they can find help.”
He says a big part of both jobs is intermingling with people. He believes in good communication.
“People in law enforcement see a lot of bad but you can’t make judgments based on the way somebody looks. It works the other way, too. All police officers are not bad. For officers, it is how you carry yourself in public and how you treat people.”
He said he grew up in a family where going to church was expected.
So was following the rules. Do bad and you could be getting a whipping.
“I didn’t call them whippings,” he said, laughing. “I called them killings.”
His father worked civil service at Fort Benning. His mother was a teacher.
At one time, his grandfather served three small churches in Georgia and Alabama. Holston would drive him from church to church.
“He always told me I drove too fast,” Holston said
Holston sat through a lot of church services but had no intention of being a pastor.
“Never thought about it,” he said.
Then, he said he got the call. “I was sitting on a stool in my Godmother’s kitchen and looked her straight in the eyes and told I had been called to preach.”
But he ran from the calling.
“Nothing good in my life happened until I stopped running and accepted the call ,” he said.
He had always been active at Wynnton Hill Baptist Church, working as an usher, singing in the choir.
He then became a deacon at the church.
Later, he would get degrees from Troy University at Fort Benning and Global Evangelical Christian College in Montgomery, Ala.
Holston said he had spoken at his father’s church. “That was God preparing me and I didn’t know it,” he said.
Holston’s entire law enforcement career has not been with the marshal’s office.
He began with the Columbus Housing Authority when it had its own police force then later worked with the sheriff’s office in Harris County.
He called working in the projects a “great job.”
While with the Housing Authority police, Holston captured a rapist who had been terrorizing Baker Village. For that, he got a commendation from Columbus Police Chief Jim Wetherington.
“I still have the letter,” he said.
He thought it was wrong to eliminate that division of Columbus law enforcement.
“Big mistake,” he said. “Crime went up after that.”
He plans to continue doing both jobs for quite awhile.
“There is work to do be done,” he said. “I love both jobs.”