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By Renee Sloan
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office hosted its third annual Sheriff’s Prayer Breakfast Thursday, with more than 50 officers and government officials attending the breakfast at Southport Baptist Church’s Christian Ministry Center.
Sheriff John Ingram initiated the event three years ago to coincide with the National Day of Prayer.
“At the time, we felt that we wanted to have some gathering, particularly around the National Day of Prayer, and express our gratitude for law-enforcement officers, first responders and government officials,” Ingram said. “We wanted to express how much we appreciate all that they do.”
Last year, the department formed a chaplain corps to provide additional support and pastoral care to sheriff’s office employees. Members of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Corps are ministers from various denominations, who reside and serve in Brunswick County. At this year’s breakfast, many of them spoke and led officers and attendees in prayers.
Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Paul Bauer delivered the keynote address. He spoke about his role as day-shift commander of the Emergency Operations Center of the World Trade Center Rescue and Recovery after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011. Bauer has a background in law enforcement and is a licensed professional counselor. He is also the author of “40 Days in the Desert: A Devotional Guide for Uniform Personnel.” He spoke about the importance of prayer during the time.
Brad Ferguson, lead chaplain of the chaplain corps, says the prayer breakfast and the chaplaincy’s efforts play an important role in providing support for the department’s officers, employees and members of the community.
In addition to responding to crisis situations, accidents and fatalities, members of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Corps also provide pastoral support for the deputies, detention officers, their families and members of the community.
“Chaplaincy is not about being religious or trying to convert somebody,” Ferguson said. “It’s about providing support.”
Ingram says the officers seem to appreciate the chaplains’ efforts.
“We see so much tragedy, and sometimes we deal with the worst that society has to offer, and it can be overwhelming,” he said.
Ferguson and he agree that knowing they have the support of their friends, family and fellow officers makes a difference for those in the department.
“They know we’re praying for them when they’re on duty; we pray for them before they go on duty,” Ferguson said. “They appreciate knowing that they’re not alone.”
Renee Sloan is a reporter and designer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.