Chaplain remembers slain son during vigil
‘I’m going to fight even harder,’ she promises
As a Salvation Army chaplain, Brenda Hines offers comfort to Milwaukee families when tragedy strikes.
This week, the tragedy was hers.
Her 23-year-old son, Donovan Hines, was shot and killed while driving a car early Monday. After the shooting, his car crashed into a house on N. 29th St. just south of W. Hampton Ave.
On Tuesday evening, she stood at the scene, holding a candle and surrounded by family, friends and her fellow chaplains, who wore their signature red vests.
“I’m going to fight even harder,” she said. “I’m going to pray even harder. I’m going to come out even more.”
“I’m going to be there for people in their time of need and I’m going to just be there in the Lord and the spirit and do what the Lord tells me to do,” she said.
The chaplains work in partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department, which requests their help when needed. Officers have called them for suicides, fatal fires, sudden child deaths, shootings and homicides.
The Salvation Army runs the program and designed the training based
on its curriculum for volunteers who respond to hurricanes, terrorist attacks and other crises. The chaplains’ training includes emotional and psychological first-aid and a mini-citizens academy to explain the job of a Milwaukee police officer.
Hines said being part of the chaplaincy program has given her strength and she wanted the community to know what her family was experiencing.
“We hurt, too, just like you do, and we go through things, too,” she said. “I’ll come back out when I bounce back.”
As of Tuesday evening, no arrests had been reported in her son’s killing. Her fellow chaplains offered prayers of support and calls for justice.
“She wants truth, she wants honesty, she wants closure,” said Monica McDowell, minister at World Outreach Center and Hines’ longtime friend.
“Father, we ask that you give that to her,” McDowell prayed. “We ask in utter boldness that you let her have what she’s asking you . ... So she gets the who and the why.”
Hines saw her son Sunday evening when he came over for dinner.
He left her house sometime when she was getting ready for bed and apparently was on his way to help a friend when the shooting occurred about 1 a.m. Monday.
At the vigil, Hines remembered her son’s wide smile, how he loved to joke around and how he was training to be a carpenter.
“He didn’t deserve it,” Hines said. “He was a loving kid.”
Pastor Alexis Twito, who leads the chaplaincy program, described him as a “light.”
“He was a light to his brothers and to his cousin and his nieces and nephews and to his mom and to his friends and so we light all of these candles in his name,” she said.
After blue and white balloons were released and the candles blown out, Hines called for more love and an end to the seemingly endless violence in Milwaukee.
Her faith was unshaken.
“I just want the devil to know he didn’t win,” Hines said.
Anyone with information about Donovan Hines’ homicide is asked to call Milwaukee police at (414) 935-7360.
Brenda Hines (center in tan coat) remembers her son, Donovan, during a vigil Tuesday. Donovan Hines was shot and killed while driving a car early Monday.