The book they live by speaks of “iron sharpening iron,” and the Rev. Bruce Hines personified that phrase when he spoke before the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Chaplain In-Service Program on Wednesday at the Hillsboro Ponderosa Banquet Center.
Hines spoke on a wide of range of topics including what to do and expect when deployed to an accident scene, and what not to do and what not to say from a legal standpoint.
“We want to give some information and education to this group of ministers from the Greenfield and Hillsboro area in the chaplaincy program for the Paint Creek Fire District,” he said. “It’s a way for them to support the fire district and their communities, and it’s my job to help bring them up to speed with what they may encounter.”
Hines is a staff chaplain at Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe. He told The Times-Gazette he’s been involved in the fire service since 1977 and for more than 20 years in the chaplaincy.
“My advice to them is even when the world is turned upside down, God is still there,” he said. “And the best we can do as chaplains is to support the departments, support the rank and file, support those men and women who are in the trenches doing the tough jobs and to realize that oftentimes, we don’t have all the answers, but we can at least be there for them.”
Paint Creek Fire Chief David Manning said the chaplain program came about when firefighters like himself saw a need to provide a resource to fellow firefighters and those they provide life-saving services to in times of need.
“We started looking at starting a program like this before the line of duty death of firefighter (Joe) Patterson,” he said. “Then we had that little boy who died in Hillsboro, and we felt the need to get the chaplain program up and running.”
Patterson, a firefighter/EMT with Paint Creek, lost his life Sunday, June 24, 2018 after an accident at the district’s station near Rainsboro, and 2-year old Toby Moore was killed in a traffic accident near his home in Hillsboro on Sept. 16, 2018.
“Capt. Matt Miller took the ball and got things rolling working with J.D. Lyle and the other pastors,” Manning said. “It soon grew to what it is right now and we’re excited about it.”
He said the pastors in the program volunteer their time one week per month in rotation and agree to be on-call for when they’re needed.
During that time, Mzanning said, they’re stopping in the firehouse and getting to know the men and women that make up the fire and life squad crews so they will know the chaplains are there in the event of a tragedy like a death or other serious incident.
“When you have something happen that is horrible, like those two crashes where the cars burned up, that’s when your training kicks in and you do your job,” he said. “When it’s all over, that’s when these chaplains come in and we work through it in our own ways.”
The Rev. Clayton Self pastors the Hillsboro First Baptist Church and places great value on the chaplain’s program.
“It’s a great opportunity to be of support to the first responders and to families in crisis,” he said. “And when it comes to the actual ministry, it’s more about presence than anything else.”
He said the best thing any of his colleagues can do could be summed up in what the Bible says where the apostle Paul writes to the Romans, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”
“Be there and be sensitive to what’s going on,” Self said. “And be sensitive to the spirit of God.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.