Montgomery, 33, works extensively with youths. Before becoming a volunteer Tacoma police chaplain five years ago, she worked for seven years in several parts of the country with Young Life, a national youth ministry.
In addition to helping kids deal with their traumas and griefs, she assisted with the funeral for the youth from her old school. So far this year, Montgomery has worked with 40 children who lost a parent. She sits with them and talks, helping them through the grieving process.
The job brings many challenges, but many rewards as well, she said, adding that God helps her persevere.
“Sometimes we meet people on the worst day of their life,” she said. “Even on hard, difficult calls, you can walk away feeling like you just made a difference, even a small difference.”
Every call is different and chaplains can’t always anticipate what will need to be done, she said.
“You may have your tool box or ways you think you are going to respond,” she said. “But I’ve given up on trying to prepare myself and just figure when I get there that God will have to make use of me.”
Another big aspect of the job is working with the police department, said Montgomery, who often rides along on patrols.
“I get a unique insight into the countless ways the officers do good, reach out and don’t ask for any recognition,” she said.
Montgomery said she was honored and humbled to be named Chaplain of the Year.
“A lot of chaplains operate in that capacity of life and death and joy,” she said. “A lot of people do really good work and a lot of people are making a difference.
“The important thing is the difference more than who’s making it.”