Emergency Chaplain Group offers support to first responders

[gallery ids="411747"]

For almost 20 years, the Emergency Chaplain Group has offered spiritual and emotional assistance to a demographic not often considered in mental health discussions: first responders.


According to Paul Tabor, the managing director and senior chaplain, part of the difficulty for first responders to open up about the stressors of their jobs is because others might not understand what it is they are going through.


“If you know anything about first responders … we tend to be a pretty closed group and stay within ourselves,” Tabor said. “As far as seeking behavioral issues, we tend to not trust anybody outside of ourselves.”


Since its inception in 1998, Emergency Chaplain Group has grown and expanded its services. The organization moved to its current address in The Woodlands area from its previous Spring location two years ago. According to Tabor, the organization now serves 43 agencies across 54 counties across Texas.


“We try to keep it really simple with these agencies,” he said. “Most of the time, it says, ‘We appoint Emergency Chaplains to be our chaplains.’ A couple of years ago, we also became the first responder partners to the [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] Foundation of America.”


Emergency Chaplain Group has also partnered with the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance out of Arizona, which largely focuses on researching suicide prevention in the firefighter community.


The organization originally started working with volunteer chaplains but has expanded to offering full-time, paid positions. The branch that serves The Woodlands area has two full-time chaplains and six volunteers.


The primary goal of Emergency Chaplain Group is to give support to first responders who are struggling with the pressure of their duties. Tabor said appointments can be made for a first responder to come to his office on Spring Hill Drive, or chaplains can be sent out for more immediate assistance.


“We see ourselves primarily as a gateway to their employee assistance program,” Tabor said. “We deal with the acute, immediate problems and short-term things. If it’s long-term help they need, we refer them to the proper mental health people. We have a couple of agencies around here that deal primarily with first responders, so it makes them feel comfortable going to those as well.”


Chaplains can help first responders in a variety of ways. According to Tabor, the group has a hotline number that is staffed around the clock for immediate assistance, appointments can be set up to come into the office, chaplains can be dispatched to the scene of an incident, or a chaplain can come to a firehouse or police department and have a private conversation.


Throughout his six years with Emergency Chaplains, Tabor said he has seen the group’s impact firsthand.


“We have so many testimonials of people we have helped that said we have put their marriages back together and who have said they were thinking about killing themselves and they got help for it,” Tabor said. “We get into this line of work for altruistic motivations. We just want to help people … and there’s a toll to seeing death over time, and that starts to build up. If we can train people ahead of time … if they decide to leave fire service or law enforcement, they can do it on their own terms.”


210 Spring Hill Drive, Ste. 140, Spring
281-651-2661
www.emergencychaplain.org



MOST RECENT

Texas Medical Center continued to see week-over-week decreases in the total number of active COVID-19 hospitalizations but also saw a significant increase in patient deaths, the medical center reported May 29. (Community Impact staff)
Texas Medical Center sees another week-over-week decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Texas Medical Center continued to see week-over-week decreases in the total number of active COVID-19 hospitalizations but also saw a significant increase in patient deaths, the medical center reported May 29.

The Willie's Grill & Icehouse restaurant in Copperfield is temporarily closed after reopening in mid-May. (Courtesy Willie's Grill & Icehouse Copperfield)
Study predicts coronavirus spike and other top Houston-area stories

Read some of the most popular Houston-area content on Community Impact Newspaper’s website from this week.

The syrup drums being repurposed into rain barrels were donated from Coca-Cola. (Courtesy Galveston Bay Foundation)
Galveston Bay Foundation to host virtual, drive-thru rain barrel workshop

The Kemah-based nature conservation nonprofit is hosting a rain barrel workshop this weekend for Houstonians thirsting for a way to help conserve the community’s water supply.

The Woodlands Transit will reopen The Woodlands Express Sawdust Park and Ride on June 1. (Courtesy The Woodlands Township)
The Woodlands Express to resume Sawdust Park and Ride service June 1

The lot is one of two The Woodlands Express park and ride locations that have been closed since late March.

The Texas Renaissance Festival is set to resume Oct. 3 with safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy Texas Renaissance Festival)
Texas Renaissance Festival announces tentative modifications for 2020 season

In a May 28 statement, General Manager Joseph Bailey said new safety measures are in the works to comply with governmental recommendations, and an operating plan is expected to be reviewed with officials in June.

Riva Row Boat House
GALLERY: Restrictions in Montgomery County easing, but residents remain cautious

Click through this photo gallery to see how residents are slowly adapting to life during a pandemic.

Conroe ISD will distribute meals until the end of June. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe ISD to continue meal distributions through June

The district will offer meal pickups Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-noon through June.

Woodlands pool swim
Plans for pool openings, Fourth of July event move forward in The Woodlands

Seven village pools in The Woodlands will open June 6 with 25% capacity under current social distancing guidelines.

The death total in Harris County now stands at 221. With 11,770 cases confirmed in the county, the death rate stands at 1.9%. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 1 new death confirmed May 28, 8 deaths over past 7 days

By comparison, 23 deaths were confirmed between May 16-22, and 39 deaths were confirmed between May 9-15.

Klein Oak High School graduating senior Christopher Jones II received a variety of gift items from community member Rachael. (Courtesy Allanda Nichols)
Greater Houston-area graduating seniors celebrated through online community

Seniors of the graduating Class of 2020 are being celebrated with gifts and well-wishes through organized Facebook groups and "adopt-a-senior" programs created by Greater Houston-area community members.

Health Care Snapshot 2020: Harris County ranked among top 25 counties for length of life

In terms of county health in 2020, Harris County ranked among the top 25 on length of life.