10 new members sworn in as county chaplains

By NICOLE LOGGINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – As of Jan. 21, Shelby County now has 22 chaplains that work in conjunction with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

The newest additions to the county chaplain service are Angela Martin, Curtis Pace, Thomas T. Patterson, J. Ted Leach,M. Steve Heaartsill, Greg Tucker, Greg Gann, Brewster Thomas, Willard Frederick and Justin Smith.

Chaplains are volunteers who assist with death notifications and provide various forms of support to officers and the community.

The 10 applicants were required to have five years of pastoral experience, submit to a background check and participate in an interview before being accepted into the Chaplain’s Service of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

“All of our chaplains either are or have been serving pastors. We don’t try and teach them to be a pastor; we like them to have a working knowledge of it,” said Chief Chaplain Mac Stinson.

Stinson, who has been a chaplain since 1996, said that the new chaplains completed a daylong training session at the Sheriff’s Department Training Center in Columbiana and attended three classes.

“There are 12 basic classes you have to take and the training is ongoing,” he said. “We have a chaplains academy here in Shelby County that we started about five years ago.”

Stinson said the new members will be required to volunteer ‘at least a few hours per month’ but the total amount they volunteer is up to the individual.

“We want to take care of the needs of the officers themselves. We ride with the officers and get out wherever they are and were working with them to make sure they’re OK,” Stinson said.

“The officers see a lot of things out there and sometimes need someone to talk to.”

Shelby County Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister administered the oath of office to the new members of the Chaplain’s Service.

“It is a great honor to be asked to administer the oath of office to these true servants of our county. They volunteer their time at all hours of the day and night to help families suffering unimaginable tragedy,” Fuhrmeister said.

“The chaplains are another example of the people that make Shelby County a great place to live.”