Bill Terhune, Fire Chaplain
Since the beginning of the organized fire service, fire departments by tradition
have had someone in the role of chaplain. In many departments, a local clergy person
has been appointed chaplain to handle emergency situations within the department
as well as fulfilling a traditional ceremonial role at fire department functions
and conducting weddings and memorials for fire department family members.
The purpose of a Fire Chaplain is to be a ministry of presence to fire department
personnel, their families and on the scene of an incident. . A chaplain is trained
to bring comfort and consolation to persons involved in critical incidents, natural
catastrophes and/or incidents dealing with death.
A chaplain works with people facing a family crisis, on the job crisis, or during
any critical incident. The chaplain does not replace a person’s pastor or spiritual
leader. If the person has a spiritual leader or is in need of a professional counselor
then a referral will be made.
As a firefighter/EMT, I enjoy spending time with fellow members while participating
in training and shift activities. This helps me understand, better assist and to
be available when they have a need to talk. My goal is to allow them to be emotionally
and spiritually secure even in the midst of a chaotic event.
A chaplain must be available to help victims of tragedy as an initial response and
in a limited follow-up capacity. Chaplains are on call twenty-four hours a day,
seven days a week for members, their families and victims.
I have been involved in the church as a minister in some capacity for over 25 years.
As a member if the Federation of Fire Chaplains (FFC), I must have the current endorsement
of a local church and be held accountable to their standards, be appointed to the
position of Chaplain by the department’s Chief and completed the specific training
required by the FFC.
As a chaplain I have taken a pledge:
“I must be open to people of all faiths and help them use their faith resources
in their time of crisis. I recognize that a personal crisis is often a turning point
in someone’s life. It can become a time of faith renewal and recommitment. I want
to be there to help them when this time comes.”
Community Service Activities
In addition to being an active volunteer Firefighter and EMT at the South Bay Fire
Department; I am also involved in the following:
If someone asks me what I believe, I will share with them as much as they want to
know about my faith. I believe that God has the answer to mankind’s problems of
pain and suffering. I am ready to discuss these issues with anyone and show them
the power and love of God offered through Jesus Christ.