Meet Our Staff

Virgil Fry

Executive Director of Lifeline Chaplaincy
Houston, Dallas, Central Texas & Tarrant County

virgil2Virgil Fry received the 1995 Distinguished Alumni Citation from Abilene Christian University on March 24, 1996. He received his B.A. and M.S. degrees from ACU in the mid seventies, his Clinical Pastoral Education training at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas in 1976, and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Seminary in 1993. Virgil began work as Chaplain at M.D. Anderson Hospital in 1985. Since then thousands of patients and family members have been blessed by his gentle ministry in the spirit of Christ. As author of pamphlets and articles on care for the ill, through video tape ministry, as adjunct professor at our Christian universities and as mentor for university student interns Virgil´s ministry has touched thousands more. Virgil has provided professional leadership and direction for the Chaplaincy program corresponding leadership among volunteers.
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Tom Nuckels

Director of Spiritual Care,
Lifeline Chaplaincy Central Texas

A ministry of the Churches of Christ serving hospitals from Austin to Temple along the I-35 corridor. Tom has been a minister since 1979 and holds degrees from The University of the State of New York (BS-1998), and from Pepperdine University (MS in Ministry-1998). He is presently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program with Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Tom Nuckels

Tom Nuckels

Tom has ministered for thirty years to churches in Hood River, Oregon (1989-1995), as well as Texas in the cities of Bloomington (1980-1982) and Elgin (1995-2008). He was a part of a five-family mission team which participated in a successful church plant in the city of Bucaramanga, Colombia, (1982-1989). During his tenure as minister in Elgin, Tom was able to travel to Scott & White Hospital in Temple where he did his training in Clinical Pastoral Education and since 2000 has served with that institution as an on-call chaplain. Tom has been serving with Lifeline since July, 2008.

Tom is married to the former Janice Kaufman of Leander, Tx. They make their home in Elgin where Janice is a secretary with the administration of the high school and Tom continues to serve as an elder for the church there. They have two sons, Jonathan of Austin and Phillip, who is a senior at Texas A & M, College Station.

“I’m glad to be a part of the Lifeline team. It gives me an opportunity to minister to people from all walks of life. Every encounter is a gift from God.”
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Paul joined the Lifeline staff as Chaplain in January 2002. His responsibilities include providing pastoral care to patients and families; supervising a corps of approximately 30 volunteers visiting patients in Texas Medical Center hospitals; and supervising participants in Lifeline’s internship program.

Dr. Paul Riddle

Dr. Paul Riddle


Prior to coming to Lifeline, Paul served as Associate Minister of University Avenue Church of Christ in Austin, Texas from 1996-2001 and as a U.S. Navy chaplain from 1987-1996.

While at University Avenue, Paul’s ministry focused on pastoral care and teaching. He visited church members who were hospitalized, living in assisted living centers and nursing homes, or confined to their homes due to illness or infirmity. He provided pastoral care to church members who were bereaved or otherwise in crisis, and he established a care team ministry in which trained volunteers provided spiritual support to church members dealing with chronic illness, age-related issues, or other difficulties.

As a Navy chaplain, Paul served in Rota, Spain; Camp Pendleton, California (during which time he was deployed for 9 months to the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War); Yokosuka, Japan (where he served as Command Chaplain of USS BUNKER HILL [CG-52]), a guided missile cruiser home-ported there; and San Diego, California, where he served as a staff chaplain at Naval Medical Center San Diego, one of the largest Naval hospitals in the world.

Paul holds degrees from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry); Yale University (Master of Divinity); The University of Texas at Austin (Bachelor of Science in Zoology); and Abilene Christian University (Bachelor of Biblical Studies). He is a Board Certified Chaplain member of the Association of Professional Chaplains.

Paul is married to Rebekah George Riddle of Houston. They were married in February 2002 and are members of Bering Drive Church of Christ in Houston, where Paul serves as an elder.

I like working at Lifeline because…

“I enjoy coming alongside people at important moments in their lives.”
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Twenty-five years ago, Lifeline Chaplaincy began in Harris County as a ministry of Churches of Christ at the Texas Medical Center where it is highly appreciated and recognized. Four years ago, this ministry added Dallas County and Jesse Stroup as the Chaplain for many of our Dallas County area hospitals. Months ago, Lifeline Chaplaincy added Tom Nuckels as Chaplain in hospitals in Austin and Temple for the Central Texas area.

Dr. David Martin

Dr. David Martin

David Martin is the Tarrant County ChaplainTurnpike Church of Christ became interested in this ministry when a large benefactor gave the seed money in honor of the deceased wife of Virgil Fry, Executive Director for Lifeline Chaplaincy and founding chaplain. The purpose for this gift was to launch Lifeline Chaplaincy in Tarrant County as soon as enough congregations saw the need for funding this ministry to begin. This year Turnpike became an annual contributor for Lifeline Chaplaincy to encourage the appointment of a Tarrant County Chaplain since so very many of our members use hospitals in Tarrant County like Texas Health Resource Center, or Arlington Memorial Hospital, as it was known until recently.

On May 4, 2009, Dr. David Martin was installed as the Chaplain for Tarrant County Hospitals. David was born in Seymour, TX in 1955 and grew up riding horses and picking cotton. Now David is a husband, father and grandfather who was until recently the Director for a Hospice Care Service in Houston. He and his wife, Diana, have three children and recently became grandparents of a new grandson and are planning a move to Tarrant County right away.
David is well-trained for this new ministry among us and our hospitals. He graduated Seymour High School in 1973 and entered Abilene Christian University. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Ministry and Evangelism in 1979 and in 1980 he was awarded a Master’s in that same field. In 1991, he graduated from the University of West Virginia College of Graduate Studies with a Master’s Degree in Counseling. He was awarded a pastoral fellowship in the Covenant Health Systems in 2000 to study Clinical Pastoral Education. He then received his Doctorate in Church and Family Leadership from Abilene Christian University in 2001.

“I came to Lifeline because sickness is often a frightening and isolating experience. It is my hope that my presence in the hospital room will bring comfort to those in the throes of illness.”

3 responses to “Meet Our Staff

  1. Wheeeeeeree’s Jesse…and Virgil? ! Perhaps you change the listings from time to time?

  2. I have a book I would like to make available free of charge to any of your staff who would like to receive it. It’s entitled “When Someone You Love Has Cancer” by NY Times bestselling author Cecil Murphey.

    Gail P Smith
    gail@gottatellsomebody.com
    Assistant to Twila Belk
    http://www.gottatellsomebody.com
    http://www.qccwc.com

  3. Pingback: Self-Care for Caregivers - Jennifer Christian, M.A., LPC

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