Elisha “E.C.” Columbus Hurley
The Reverend Dr. Elisha Columbus Hurley, 74, better known as “E.C.,” of Clarksville, Tennessee, died August 31, 2021. He was a member of Nashville Presbytery. Born February 18, 1947, in Harlan, Kentucky, to the Dexter Hurley and Malva Brown Hurley, E.C. grew up in the Church of God in a coal-mining community the midst of the Appalachian Mountains.
Hurley enlisted in the US Army in 1966 and rose through the ranks. He retired a colonel in 2003. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, and the Air Assault Medal while in the army. He served on the medical care staff of General of the Army, Omar Bradley.
Ordained originally in the Church of God, Hurley came before the Committee on the Ministry of Gadsden Presbytery in Alabama February 14, 1985. The committee recommended he “be received into the Presbytery and placed on probation until such time that the committee feels he is ready for his ordination to be confirmed.”
Gadsden Presbytery met June 8, 1985 in a session called specifically to recognize Hurley’s ordination. The Reverend Talmadge Bright, chairman of the Committee on the Ministry, offered the questions required for ordination and the Reverend D.Y. Howton led the prayer. Hurley was then welcomed to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, granted permission to serve as a chaplain in the US Army, and installed the next day as pastor of the Forrest Avenue Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Gadsden.
Hurley held masters degrees in divinity, counseling psychology, and clinical psychology. He earned decorates in ministry, clinical psychology, and counseling psychology. He was a member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Study (ISTSS), the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISST-D), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association (EMDRIA). Hurley served as the EMDR Institute trainer in EMDR therapy for the US Army’s Medical Command (AMEDD) and trained mental health professionals in the application of EMDR therapy in treating military personnel and veterans.
Hurley was considered the foremost expert on providing EMDR therapy to the military/veteran population. He was the author of A Clinicians Guide for Treating Active Military and Veteran Populations with EMDR Therapy (Springer Publishing, 2020).
After military retirement, Hurley was the founder and executive director of Soldier Center in Clarksville, Tennessee, near Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he and his staff specialized in treating complex combat trauma among military personnel and veterans. He provided advanced training for mental health professionals throughout the United States, Israel, and Turkey. Soldier Center provides intensive outpatient therapy for PTSD with effective results.
The EMDR International Association said, “Dr. Hurley’s death is a massive loss to his family, friends, the EMDR community, and wounded warriors who would have benefited from his care and his continued training of other mental health professionals.”