As promised, I will share with you what my plans are after I leave Peace. As you know, I have served as the volunteer chaplain and support services coordinator for the Channahon Fire Protection District for over 7 years. Essentially, when there is a crisis such as a house fire, a water rescue, a serious accident, or a suicide, I am called to the scene to render "Crisis First Aid." It's my job to come along side of the people experiencing trauma and provide support and resources to help them recover. It requires the initial contact but also lots of follow-up to make sure things are going well.

Where did I learn to do that? Well, while in seminary we are required to do a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. So, I spent an entire summer full time at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge as a chaplain intern. There was a group of seven of us from various seminaries and denominations as well as two supervisors. Each day we would have class and learn how to assist patients and their families who were experiencing illness or trauma. Lutheran General is a level one trauma center which means it can handle the most life threating situations in their ER.

As interns we were required to do "on call" shifts where we were the only chaplains in the very large hospital! We would get paged to the ER for serious cases and had a designated spot at the foot of the gurney in the trauma bay. As you can imagine, I saw and experienced just about everything imaginable! We were also required to process all the paperwork for every death in the hospital on our shift.

The good news is we would have time to debrief our experiences with the group and our supervisors so we could learn from our mistakes and better ways to help people. I also got to do some really cool things like being in the delivery room so I could baptize a baby immediately after birth because she came too early. I was able to follow that baby and mother for the rest of the summer and they did great!

So, now the CFPD wants to hire someone part time to do more of what I'm already doing but adding more mental health resources to our tool bag. A large percentage of our ambulance calls are mental health related. It will be my job to process referrals from our crews and connect our residents with the resources they need.

See you Sunday!