In today’s current climate, with a harsh spotlight being trained on law enforcement agencies and police officers being painted with broader and murkier brush strokes, it’s easy to forget that behind the sensational headlines, behind the dramatic short clips of body worn camera videos, behind each news anchor sound byte, there are humans. They are our neighbors, our customers, our friends, and our family members. They are men and women who truly believe in making a positive difference. They are mothers and fathers who work to make their communities safer, for all children. They are husbands and wives, knowing that any given day could bring devastation and loss for their families, and still they don their uniform, square their shoulders, and walk out the door, because they believe in what they do.
And, there are those who walk with them.
While writing the article about Winery 101’s celebration and Pouring it Forward campaign (online story here), I asked the owner, Gavin Gallifant, who would receive the portions of the campaign’s donations. He responded that the donations would go to the 100 Club of Arizona and Paraclete. If many of you are like me, you’ve heard of and appreciate what the 100 Club does for the families of fallen first responders. And, if many of you are like me, you’ve possibly never heard of Paraclete, either. After getting their contact information from Gavin, I called them to learn more about what they do.
Paraclete is a wonderful non-profit organization that provides 24-hour volunteer services to law enforcement. Paraclete volunteer chaplains ride along with officers on patrol or respond when called to provide emotional support and/or spiritual assistance with everything from crisis situations that may need the services of a chaplain, to hospital visits with officers and their families to provide comfort and support, to performing a baptism for an officer’s child. They are, in essence, volunteers who have taken time to learn and understand the difficulties officers and the law enforcement community face each day, allowing them the ability to identify and connect with their specific needs.
“Our mission is to come alongside the line of duty, alongside the thin blue line, to serve those who protect us,” said Bob Fesmire, founder and executive director. “Our job is to remain in the background, until and unless we are needed. If you haven’t heard of us, we’re probably doing our job right.”
Paraclete is faith-based, but their services don’t necessarily have to be. The main goal is to show that there are those who are willing to stand beside our law enforcement community, with a hand on their shoulder, if need be. Law enforcement communities around the nation see a great deal of the worst that humanity has to offer. Sworn officers and unsworn civilian support personnel often have to deal with many difficult and sometimes disturbing situations, while maintaining strength and professionalism. But, they are still human and at times, they may need the understanding and support of another, in order to deal with things they see or hear. That is Paraclete’s mission. To show those who work every day to protect and serve us, that they also are deserving of respect and service, as well.
Paraclete responds Valley-wide, meeting the needs from Surprise to Chandler, and all points between. Now that I know about them, I wanted more people to know about them as well, to help spread the word of the good work they do. To learn more about Paraclete, or find ways of volunteering or donating to help their mission, visit www.paracleteaz.com.