Fire Chaplain talks about grief process - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Fire Chaplain talks about grief process

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The grieving process will likely be different for all the people who knew and loved Toledo Fire Department Private Machcinski and Private Dickman. And there is counseling help available to help their fellow firefighters through this tough time. 13abc's Lissa Guyton spent time with a local priest who also serves as the Fire Chaplain in Maumee. The very first thing Reverend Paul Board thought is the families of the men. He says one of the most important things to remember is that there needs to be a long term effort to help them.

Reverend Board is the priest at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Maumee. He's also the Chaplain for the Maumee Fire Department, "When tragedy strikes you need a shoulder to lean on and that's what a Chaplain does." Reverend Board was among the thousands at the Last Alarm Memorial Service on Thursday night, "Every single firefighter at that event knew that it could have been them going into that building. They were there paying their respects to the victims and the families and the department knowing that it could have been them. You would never wish this on anyone but when it happens you have to be there to support and care for them."

Board says the incredible outpouring of support for the families and the Toledo Fire Department is something to be proud of, "They are being showered with love and attention right now as they should be, shame on us if we didn't do that, but six months from now when they are still lonely and hurting we need to remember them. That's what a Chaplain is for." Board says it's also important to realize the grieving process is different for all of us, "What I believe about grief is that it is a gift from God. It may sound strange but God is love and love comes from God and we don't grieve for people we don't love. So when we grieve God is holding you, it's a direct presence."

The Sylvania Township Fire Department had a line of duty death about 15 years ago. Chief Jeff Kowalski says Toledo was one of the departments that took over their operations while they mourned. Sylvania Twp. is one of the departments now filling in at Toledo fire houses, "We draw on each others strengths, help each other out and try to get through the process. Even though we're grieving and going on runs with heavy hearts we still have to take care of people we took an oath to protect and serve."

The Toledo Fire Department has counseling services available to firefighters at all times whether it's for a critical incident or a personal matter. There's also a team of Toledo firefighters who have volunteered to go through additional training to help crews deal with a critical incident.

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