Answer the Call!
The recruitment campaign for Loudoun County Fire and Rescue has a double meaning for those who serve as Chaplains. We answer not only the call to help people, but also a call from God.
Without the call from God, we would struggle during emergencies to keep our faith and sanity. First responders face numerous stressful situations as they run into burning buildings and deal with other life-threatening emergencies. It should come as no surprise that they often need to talk about it. Unfortunately, it is a surprise to most people who idealize first responders thinking that they are tougher than the rest of us. Statistically, first responders (police, fire, rescue, military) have a high incidence of divorce and suffer numerous other stress-related problems because of their work. What is perhaps most surprising is that hundreds of volunteers in Loudoun County accept this risk without out pay or other compensation just for the satisfaction of helping those in need.
Rescue chaplains not only aid the emergency medical services (EMS) staff their stress, they also work along side of the EMS staff in aiding family members experiencing these emergencies—injuries, loss of life, and property damage.
The hardest part of an emergency is dealing with the unknown. We typically want answers that only God can supply. What is taking so long? What is EMS team doing? Is there hope for full recovery? Simple things are not so simple during emergencies. Still, chaplains are trained to be a nonanxious presence in these stressful circumstances. The Apostle Paul writes: I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 ESV).
My call story is most personal. My father was a fireman. One day as he worked under a car it slid off the jacks onto his chest. I was right there. Being young and naive, I struggled to lift the car. Then, I heard a voice saying: “Jack the car! Jack the car! Jack the car!” I did, and pulled him out, still living but bleeding internally. Waiting in the hospital for 10 long hours to hear from the surgeons exhausted me emotionally, but I realized that the voice that I heard during the accident was not a neighbor but God. At that point, I realized that God was calling me to help not only my father but also other people.
What is God calling you to do?
David Wilkinson grew up in Milford, Connecticut. He accepted God’s call on December 16, 1961 at the age of 14. He is now married with two children and six grandchildren. David is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary , a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church , Herndon, Virginia, and a Stephen Minister .
David has been a member of the Sterling Voluntary Rescue Squad  for 7 years.