BEND, OR -- Local law enforcement and fire crews have responded to a string of nearly two-dozen tragic incidents in the past month. Each time, a chaplain has responded to provide emotional support and counseling.
Pastor Jim Crowley, with Central Oregon Police Chaplaincy
, says his job is dedicated to first responders on-scene and afterwards. "They’re kicked in; they have a job to do. They’re very professional; they do an outstanding job for our community. And, when they’re doing those kinds of things, they’re not thinking about themselves, or how this is going to impact them. But it’s the two, three, four days, sometimes weeks after – sometimes months after, that that impact resonates. And, then it’s that opportunity for us to kind of stand in that gap with them." He tells KBND News, "It’s kind of like dropping a great big rock in a puddle, and the ripples go out and they come back. So, it’s an ongoing impact, not only at the moment but down the road, for months, years, does that make an impact for the guys and gals in uniform."
Chaplains have responded to more than 20 deaths in the past month, including nearly a dozen fatal crashes from Warm Springs to La Pine, and last month’s officer involved shooting in Bend. While a chaplain's first priority is the emergency crews and dispatchers working a tough case, Crowley says they're also available to help anyone involved in the incident. "More often than not they’ll point us to the family and say ‘this is the loved one, these are the deceased person’s [family] is in this area,’ to help us to know how we can care for the family and for the community."
His nonprofit has more than 20 chaplains in the tri-county area who respond to a number of incidents east of the Cascades. To listen to our full conversation with Chaplain Jim Crowley, click HERE
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