Chaplain for Champaign/Urbana Fire and Police Departments and Senior Pastor of Trinity Community Fellowship, an EV Free Church in Farmer City, Illinois.
Hi, my name is Dave Ashby. I’m married to my wonderful wife, Janet and we have 3 children, all of whom are married as well as 9 grandchildren. I’ve been around the Fire Service all of my life. My father, Willard, was a career Firefighter in Champaign, working his way up through the ranks to become the Fire Chief in Champaign until his death in 1974. My sons, Mark and Mike, are both firefighters. Mark is a Lieutenant on the Urbana Fire Department and Mike is a Firefighter in Champaign. To be honest, one of the greatest privileges I have is being allowed to work with Firefighters and their families. I enjoy serving them, helping them and being available for them as they have need. I have been on countless emergency scenes, stood in emergency rooms and besides hospital beds to counsel, encourage and support scores of Firefighters and their family members. I am happy to be a part of ILFFPS to further be a part of a team that supports and encourages this privilege.
I started my career with the fire service in 2004 as a firefighter/EMT-B with the City of Satellite Beach. While working in Florida, I married Jackie and we had two children and decided to move back to Illinois to be closer to family. I have been with the Bloomington fire department since April of 2012 as a Firefighter/paramedic.
In December of 2013, my wife and I suffered the loss of our daughter, Hope. We were informed in the 12th week of our pregnancy that she had a birth defect called, anencephaly. Every coping mechanism I learned through the fire service failed me when it came to this. Keeping it all bottled in was no longer working. It took a lot of patience from my wife for me to finally be able to open up.
Currently, I am in my second year of college, seeking a degree in Biblical studies, and was recently ordained into my local church, Eastview in Normal, Illinois. My goal is to become BFD’s chaplain. I love my brother’s in the fire service and peer support gave me another opportunity to help those who are seeking.
I am a recently-retired (and progressive) United Methodist pastor with almost 20 years experience as a volunteer firefighter (Level II) and EMT-A, having served on three different departments in Central Illinois (Allen Township, Arcola, Dwight), where I experienced many things, both good and bad. I was the de-facto chaplain on all three departments, and have officially served as the chaplain for the Cornbelt Fire Department (Mahomet, IL, volunteer), and currently as chaplain of the Galesburg Fire Department (career). I have sought out training for this role, including certification as a CISD Team participant (and have been the recipient of that support myself), though I don’t believe that approach is very effective, preferring a more informal “diffusion” process.
With a foot in both volunteer and career worlds, I can speak to and support both. I consider myself a good (and trained) listener, and love my brothers and sisters in the fire service, whose challenges and struggles are unique. I also currently relate to retired firefighters, and am uniquely suited to listen and be supportive to those with faith-related issues.
My name is James Graham Jr. and I have been with the Rockford Fire Department since 1997. I currently hold the position of Driver Engineer, and I am an ordained minister. In my life, I have had to deal with five family members deaths in a period of 18 months of each other. I have some history in dealing with people with drugs and alcohol abuse in my family as well dealing with my own alcohol abuse. Depression and anxiety are issues I have dealt with because I felt I needed to be perfect for everyone else. In my many years with the Rockford Fire Department, I have had injuries both physically and mentally. Seeking out emotional help during my times of trouble, was the best thing I could have done for myself. Having someone there to talk to who understood my situation and was willing to listen was the best medication I could have received. I pray that I can somehow extend the same kind of support to someone else in their time of need.
Thank-you for checking out my profile! I am a career Lieutenant/Paramedic with over 25 years of experience in Emergency Services. I grew up in the Illinois Valley and started my career in the LaSalle/Peru area prior to getting hired at Lockport and moving to Joliet. I have worked as a volunteer, paid-on-call, contract, and/or private Firefighter/EMT-B/EMT-P prior to getting hired at Lockport. I have a very diverse background and I never forgot where I came from. Like some people in Emergency Services I have also lived a messy life. Recently I had to turn to the Peer Support Group myself and I can say that I am better today for making that phone call. If you are about to begin your journey with the Peer Support Group I wish you well. Maybe I’ll get the privilege to hear your story. Just keep in mind that you are not alone in your struggles. Reaching out to the Peer Support Group might just be the best hardest thing you’ve ever done!
I am Chaplain Daniel Persinger and I serve for the Blackhawk Fire Protection District, Rockford Police and Fire Chaplains Division and a local hospital. On July 5th of 2012 my dream of becoming a career firefighter was taken away from me due to a diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy. Since then I have found a way to stay involved in the fire service and that is being a Fire and Police Chaplain. I have been involved in the fire service for 9 years total and 4 years as a Chaplain. I started off in late middle school doing fire explorers, ride along programs, to being on a roster for fire departments as a Chaplain. I have seen my fair share of traumatic calls, I have told people that a loved one is dead, attended LODD Funerals and I have been with people on the worst day of their life and have helped first responders process things. Through the grace of God I have been given these talents to serve my community and serve my first responders as a Chaplain with Muscular Dystrophy while using my crutches or my wheelchair. I am here to help you when you needed it, don’t ever hesitate to reach out to any of the peer supporters because we are all in this together. It’s helpful to reach out, and it has helped me process the nature of the different things while being a Chaplain. As I tell first responders from time to time – Have Fun, Be Safe, be Smart and at the end of our shifts Everyone Goes Home.