AFD fire chaplain completes training; continues to serve community

Published 9:49 am Monday, October 24, 2022

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By EMILY REED | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Serving people and the community around him has always been a goal of Derrick Morrissette, who serves as a chaplain with the Alabaster Fire Department.

Most recently, Morrissette completed a 16-hour course for the Federation of Fire Chaplains program in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Oftentimes with firefighters, they are there for people when something happens, but when something happens for them, they need support too,” Morrissette said. “To be a firefighter is one of the most stressful jobs in the country, and based on the things firefighters often see with the emotional trauma, the long schedules, it is important to be there for the firefighters as well.”

Morrissette has been serving with the AFD for about a year, where he is one of two chaplains providing support for the firefighters within the department.

Pastor Arthur Harris is also a fire chaplain with the department, and the two individuals volunteer their time to serve when a need arises.

“We can’t fix anything, we can’t take away the pain, we can’t stop them from hurting, but we can walk alongside them and be there for them when they need us,” Morrissette said.

The FFC is a non-profit organization that was initially started in 1978 by a group of chaplains who recognized there was a need.

According to their website, the FFC encourages fire chaplains to strive to help ease the sufferings of their fellow men, acknowledging that the nation’s firefighters have one of the most dangerous professions.

The chaplains are encouraged to “give aid, comfort and help firefighters and their families; to work toward the betterment of all areas of the fire and emergency service,” according to the FFC website.

Both Morrissette and Harris meet with members of the fire department each week, and whenever there is a need, they respond to the call.

“Sometimes we are called to assist if there is a situation where someone needs somebody to be with them,” Morrissette said. “We are also there to always offer support to the fire department.”

Serving others has been something Morrissette has been called to do for many years, as he also serves as senior pastor at Mind of Christ International Church in Alabaster.

“Being a fire chaplain is something I have always wanted to do,” Morrissette said. “I feel like it allows me another opportunity to serve the people in the community, and I am blessed to be able to do it.”