Dennis Fruzza: Community chaplains offer support through adversity | TheUnion.com

Dennis Fruzza: Community chaplains offer support through adversity

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Dennis Fruzza

"Committed to providing Law Enforcement and the Community a compassionate and calming presence in the face of adversity or need."

The statement quoted above is the sole intention of the Nevada County Sheriff's Office Chaplaincy. It is a volunteer unit of the Sheriff's Office serving all law enforcement agencies in Nevada County, their families and all those in our community who are affected by suffering, tragedy or loss.

The Chaplaincy includes both law enforcement chaplains and community chaplain volunteers. Law enforcement chaplains primarily serve law enforcement employees and their families and are licensed or ordained clergy. Community chaplains serve members of the public who are affected by traumatic incidents — including the families, friends, neighbors and coworkers of victims.

We are currently seeking community-minded individuals to increase the number of community chaplain volunteers trained to serve in the Nevada County Sheriff's Office Chaplaincy.

We are currently seeking community-minded individuals to increase the number of community chaplain volunteers trained to serve in the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Chaplaincy.

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Any qualified individual can become a community chaplain volunteer. Chaplains come from a broad geographic, spiritual and socio-economic cross-section of Nevada County. They respond to a wide variety of situations including serious accidents, suicides, homicides or suspicious deaths, sudden infant death, barricaded subjects, missing persons, industrial accidents, unexpected natural deaths, death notifications and many others.

Typically, community chaplains are contacted and deployed within moments of officers' arrival on scene. They provide traumatized civilians with a compassionate presence in the very worst times of their lives for a limited period of time. Chaplain volunteers typically remain on the scene anywhere from one to four hours or more.

The chaplain's attendance is there to offer varied assistance – emotional, spiritual and practical – to the citizen/victims while first responders are committed to do what they do best.

Community chaplain volunteers bring a calming presence to potentially volatile scenes, serve as liaisons between survivors and public safety personnel and the media, while also helping contact and convene survivors' family, friends and clergy. Chaplains provide a safe environment for survivors to express their anguish, provide survivors information on how to care for themselves in the coming days and weeks, provide referrals to agencies offering long-term support, and provide other practical assistance as necessary.

The Nevada County Sheriff's Office Chaplaincy program strives to provide 24-hour a day, 365-day-a-year availability for crisis intervention in any emergency situation.

Please call Chaplain Dennis Fruzza if you are interested in exploring further the opportunity to serve as a community chaplain volunteer. He can be reached at 530-575-6022.

Dennis Fruzza is a chaplain for the Nevada County Sheriff's Office Chaplaincy.