Gold Country Chaplaincy
● By Style
Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
The unfortunate reality of life is that at some point we will all endure some kind of crisis or tragedy.
For those times, the Gold Country Chaplaincy has a simple message: No one has to go through it alone. “Our mission is to ‘stand in the gap,’ as it says in Ezekiel, and serve the community as a faith-based ministry in times of crisis,” says Senior Chaplain Terry Morgan. “We’re dedicated to providing spiritual, emotional and mental support to the community.”
Chaplaincy programs have long been affiliated with law enforcement and emergency response services, providing counseling to families and first responders on the frontlines of the very worst things that happen. Gold Country Chaplaincy is slightly different – in addition to serving law enforcement, it’s also focused on serving corporations and the media.
The chaplaincy’s biggest focus, however, is military veterans and their families, especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. “As our courageous men and women come home they go from an environment where people are trying to kill them to a relatively peaceful environment and people that love them,” Morgan says. “They need someone to talk to who understands what they’ve been through, what they’ve seen, and [someone] who can help them decompress.”
With that focus, the chaplaincy’s biggest event is the Placer County Veterans Stand Down, held every September. During the three-day event, veterans from all over the region are given help finding work and homes, and plugging in to the social services they need – and have certainly earned. There are also free haircuts, medical and dental services, and three meals a day. Last year, the event served more than 900 meals for local vets, but even more important, it helped vets feel good in a social public setting. As Morgan says, it’s not a hand out, but a hand up. “We had one veteran who lost his glasses and because of that, couldn’t work. He lost his house, his family, had no means of earning money and was on the street – all for [losing] a pair of glasses,” Morgan says. “We got him an eye exam, he got new glasses, and within a year he had a new home and he’d gotten his family back.”
Importantly, while veterans are a focus, anyone can call on the chaplaincy in times of crisis. There’s no charge to talk to someone and get help when it’s needed. The chaplaincy also provides training for individuals (and organizations) that want to become chaplains themselves or learn some of the skills vital to helping people in a crisis.
As a nonprofit, the chaplaincy relies on grants, donations and volunteers to provide its services, and any help is appreciated. Beyond those methods of involvement, however, something all people of faith can do to help is to pray. “The most important thing is to pray for us – the work we do and the people we serve,” Morgan says. “We really need the prayers.”
Visit goldcountrychaplaincy.com for more information.