1ST Responder Newspaper - PA
What Do You Have to Offer? Chaplain's Corner Didymus McHugh
I have been watching about all of the disasters that have been happening. As part of the fire service, I responded to calls during Hurricane Irene, Super Storm Sandy and more than I can remember. As responders and caring people, we want to help. We raise money to send to help others. We gather new toys, new clothes, things needed for the household, whatever we can. We send it to places in need and hope that it makes a difference. We as a family of responders cannot sit on the side lines. I have the honor to be able to respond to places effected by hurricanes. I was able to speak to other responders and some stories need to get out, like the police officer that did not need money from the overtime that he received from working security at the shelters. He took the money that he earned and put it in the visor of his cruiser. He was able to take the money and put it in the hands of people who were in need. No forms. No waiting. Immediately helping. I don’t know about you but I do not have all that money. My mind went to a person that I had heard about at the gate of a temple. The man was lame from birth and had to beg to survive. We have seen people begging many times, especially in certain areas. Well, Peter and John were going into the temple. Peter looked at the man and said to him, “Silver and gold I do not have, BUT what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus, rise up and walk.” And the man was able to walk and leap. Acts 3 I know that all of us cannot do a miracle; but what can we do? What do we have to give? You would be surprised at what we have to give. First responders love to give. You give of yourselves on calls. We have our strength. We have our time. There are others things very important to the people who have gone through a disaster that also means so much. You have compassion. You have ears to listen to someone’s story. When I working in shelters, I was asked many questions by so many people. Where are my animals? What time is the next meal? So many questions that I had to research the answers because I did not have the answers. We don’t always need to have the answer. I was able to help some elderly people get their meals since they did not have the mobility. I was able to try to get a table, so some could play dominos but I want to share something that will stay with me forever. I was in a shelter and an older gentleman came up to me. He asked me if I was the chaplain. I said “yes, I am”. “You’re a man
of God?” “Yes, I am.” Then came the best question “can I have a hug?” “Of course you can.” The man put his head on my right shoulder as he hugged and then the left shoulder for another hug. He looked at me and asked if I would pray for him. I told him that I would. As I was going to pray with him there, he put his head on my right shoulder for a hug, then the left side for another hug and then he went away crying. He may have lost everything, or may have been homeless before everything started. I don’t know. But his need was so simple. He needed human contact. We take for granted how much we can help people, just by being there. If the only reason that I went to work in the shelters for two weeks was to give that hug, then it was worth the trip. Think of how many opportunities you may have to really have an impact on someone’s life. What do
you have to offer? What skills? Do you have ears to listen with compassion? Arms to come around someone who may have nothing? God has blessed us all so much. We may not be wealthy but as we live life the most important thing that we can give is … ourselves. Thank you to all our brothers and sisters who have been responded in the times of tragedy. Thank you to those who took care of their families and as soon as they were safe, kept responding to calls to help others. It is an honor to be associated with people who give of themselves. It was a pleasure to work with people from New Hampshire to Washington state, Alaska, Hawaii and the entire country. Who knows, maybe others will take other training for disasters and maybe I will see you in the shelters. Stay safe, Didymus McHugh
FUTURE 1st RESPONDERS
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Royersford, PA - Future RFD firefighters learning early on how station cleaning detail works.