SFFR Looking To Add On More Chaplains

One new member is already seeing how much his services are needed

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-9-49-33-pmSIOUX FALLS, S.D. – When emergencies like fires happen, many fire departments have chaplains on hand to talk with affected families about what’s going on.

They even help firefighters who’ve been through traumatic experiences on the job.

But Sioux Falls Fire Rescue says it doesn’t have enough people in this volunteer position.

One man just joined the squad, and is already seeing how much his services are needed.

When firefighters hear the sound of an alarm, they know there’s an emergency.

“It could be anything from medical calls all the way up to fire scenes or natural disasters,” says Battalion Chief Steve Fessler.

He says every day is different, and some days are harder than others.

“It accumulates, it grows on people.”

Which is why Sioux Falls Fire Rescue likes to have chaplains on hand.

“We can lean on them a lot for the different things we see on a daily basis,” says Fessler.

The Battalion Chief says the department would like to have six chaplains.

Right now there are 5, and two are brand new.

“This one was kind of out of the blue to be a fire chaplain, it was not something that I was planning on,” says Ken Sproles.

This is Sproles’ first week volunteering as a chaplain.

“When it came up, it really, really struck me as something that would be a challenge and something that I really wanted to do,” he says.

Before this, Sproles was the South Dakota Junior Football Board of Directors.

“This is a changing moment in my life to really focus on my faith and the faith of others, and to really care for others at a different level,” says Sproles.

He’s already provided that care in his short time on the job.

During a house fire in Sioux Falls earlier this week, he had the tough task of letting the family know they had to find somewhere else to stay that night.

“When you first go on a scene and the family is arriving to see their home on fire, that is quite an experience,” says Sproles. “So, so much of that moment is just listening to them.”

While Sproles doesn’t know what each day will bring, he says he’s happy to fulfill a great need.

“I love the idea that I can just be inserted into that scene and help.”

It was Fessler who got Sproles interested in the position.

Sproles says at first he didn’t think he was qualified, but Fessler believed in him and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

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