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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

Public safety chaplains offer comfort, guidance
Eight members on call to serve during tragedies
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Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston: Franklin County has eight new public safety chaplains on call to serve those in need of comfort during a tragedy. In the front row, from left, are Marcie Meeks, Wayne King, Joshua King and Richard Glass. In the back row are Dr. Charles Lane, medical examiner; Daryl Hatcher, director of public safety; William Meeks; Mark Richardson; Darrell Wimmer; and Michael Gallimore.

Monday, March 25, 2013

By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer

Franklin County has eight new public safety chaplains on call to serve those in need of comfort at the scene of a tragedy.

"We are here to serve as a non-anxious presence and to be a comfort during a tragic event," said Chaplain Marcie Meeks.

"We are also here to offer spiritual guidance and support to family members who have witnessed a loved one's tragedy," said Chaplain Joshua King.

The Franklin County Chaplain's Corps. formed on Dec. 1 and has already been called upon for assistance three times -- during a house fire, a DOA and a cardiac arrest situation.

Each of the chaplains have taken a course through the Federation of Fire Chaplains and are now trained and certified to assist the public.

Two of the chaplains are ordained ministers and three of them are members of the clergy, King said.

"Some of us are laymen and some of us are members of the clergy," he said.

Some of the chaplains are also firefighters or emergency medical technicians.

The chaplains also offer support to public safety officers and other emergency personnel.

"We have to be mindful of the whole situation," said Chaplain Wayne King. "A volunteer could be on his or her first call. Depending on the situation, it could be extremely traumatizing."

A victim or family member of a victim can request the services of a chaplain by simply asking for one to be called to the scene.

"If someone wants a chaplain, they should just let public safety know, and one will be called," said Joshua King.

The chaplain on call will come to the scene and remain with the person until the person feels the chaplain's services are no longer needed.

"We will go with the family to the hospital or even to their home if we are needed there," said Joshua King.

The chaplains meet periodically to share experiences and hear suggestions on what they can do to improve their services.

"We are working on our training to help families dealing with cardiac arrest," said Joshua King.

The eight chaplains are Marcie Meeks, Wayne King, Joshua King, Richard Glass, William Meeks, Mark Richardson, Darrell Wimmer and Michael Gallimore.

To learn more about the services the chaplains offer, visit the Federation of Fire Chaplains website at firechaplains.org.

 
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