IOWA CITY — The Iowa City VA Medical Center has a new staff chaplain, Father Damian Ilokaba, a retired priest of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA. Fr. Ilokaba, 62, has received faculties from the Diocese of Davenport to serve at the VA Medical Center. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Awka, Nigeria, on Oct. 4, 1986.
After retiring from the military, Fr. Ilokaba decided to continue ministering in the United States. A friend recommended the Iowa VA Medical Center. “He said Iowa is going to be beautiful.”
Fr. Ilokaba has served with the Archdiocese for the Military Services for a total of 11 years, 10 of them in active service. During his military service he ministered at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan; and in Schweinfurt and Baumholder, Germany; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Gordon, Augusta, Ga.; Fort Defiance, Clarksville, Tenn.; Westover Air Reserve Base, Springfield, Mass.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.; and Fort Meade, Md.
He had not previously served in a VA hospital, but said: “I know all about my fellow veterans. I know their problems; they’ve suffered a lot of injuries. Having been in war so long, a lot of them come back with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) … I listen to them.”
The priest said he is enjoying Iowa. “It’s very quiet.”