Doug Alexander knows how to get things done.
At 66, the former U.S. Army Military Police with the 82nd Airborne Corps, retired Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputy, church pastor and bishop, commands an army of volunteers with compassion and grace, believing that there’s no greater joy than serving others.
On Wednesday, April 27, Alexander is being inducted into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame in Tallahassee, which, since 2013, honors military veterans who have made a significant contribution to the state of Florida through their civic, business and/or public services.
In his nomination of Alexander for this honor, retired Col. Curt Ebitz called him “a devoted man of faith and of his community,” with a “passion for helping the poor, the hungry and the broken,” also an “advocate for his fellow veterans ... giving them purposeful direction through his personal example of seeking out veterans in need.”
Ebitz continued with his assessment of Alexander and his “selfless and indefatigable efforts” in caring for the community by saying, “A man of the people and a champion of his community, Pastor Alexander’s decades of devoted spiritual leadership, faithful support of his fellow veterans and selfless dedication to our country, the state of Florida and his beloved Citrus County community exemplify the credo of ‘service above self’ and merit favorable selection for the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame.”
Alexander’s daughter, Tiarra Alexander, said on behalf of the family, “We’re so happy for him ... Citrus County has always honored my dad for the things he does, but for him to get this recognition on this level is pretty amazing, and we’re so proud of him.
“He doesn’t do things for recognition or accolades,” she said. “He just does what he feels is right.”
Alexander comes from a long line of community-minded people with deep roots in Citrus County.
Back in the late 1800s, Clyde Alexander Sr. came to Citrus County from Douglas, Georgia. The Alexander clan migrated to the tight-knit community of Hernando near the intersection of County Road 486 and U.S. 41 where Alexander and his 15 siblings grew up.
“I graduated from Citrus High School in 1975 and instead of going right into the Army, I joined the 351st Military Police Company in Ocala, and then I went active duty,” Alexander said from his church, the New Church Without Walls in Lecanto. “I went into the military because I was heading down the wrong path and I knew I needed to get out of here to stay out of trouble.
“So, I joined the military and I loved it,” he said. “It was the best thing for me.”
His main job was Military Police, but he was also an Army physical fitness specialist, traveling to different places and playing sports like flag football, basketball, track and field and his main sport, boxing.
He got out of the Army for a short time, returned to Citrus County and went to work for then-Sheriff Charlie Dean as a deputy.
When Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm started, he was recalled to active duty with the 351st Military Police Company.
His time serving in the Gulf War is not something Alexander likes to talk about except to say, “War is not good. I’ve seen too much that I can’t unsee.”
He returned to Citrus County and served 12 years with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office as a school resource officer at Inverness Middle School and later Citrus High School.
Alexander left the CCSO because of health complications from his time in Kuwait during Desert Storm.
He started his church in 2001 and has continued to use it as a base of operation for all of his charitable outreach work to the community, whether it’s giving away boxes of food, helping people find jobs, housing or medical care or spearheading relief efforts after a natural disaster or emergency, either local or miles away.
“I met him in 2002 when he was on the United Way board. The first time I met him and shook his hand, I just knew he’s a great guy, a good person,” said Larry Gamble, a minister at the church and one of Alexander’s “right hand men.”
“The cool thing about Doug, he doesn’t change,” Gamble said. “Some people go through cycles of helping others, but Doug stays focused on helping the folks in the community that have needs, and it’s gotten bigger and bigger and bigger ... now he’s giving away pallets and pallets of food every single week, and he stays consistent.”
Ralph Massullo, state representative, local businessman and supporter of Alexander’s many community outreach projects, said, “Doug Alexander is one of the finest men I know. He and his wife, ‘Lady T,’ have dedicated their lives to helping people. They care about veterans, the homeless and those downtrodden by life who may be hungry and in need.
“They are continually helping them find services, jobs, transportation, mental and physical healthcare and essentials. Through their Feeding Citrus initiative, they have provided millions of pounds of food, sometimes on a weekly basis, to whomever shows up to be cared for by their army of faithful volunteers.
“And above all else, he and Lady T share the gospel of Jesus Christ to all they encounter, and through the Church Without Walls they promote a sound theology that brings glory to God and spiritually nourishes their flock,” he said.
Massullo concluded, “Doug has been an example and mentor to me of a humble, capable, diligent, tireless servant leader. I am blessed to know him and honored to be his friend.”
Of this honor, Alexander said simply, “When I heard about this, I Googled it and – wow. I’m humbled and I’m grateful to be recognized on this level.”