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Chaplaincy has built reputation for helping veterans

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By: Terry Morgan, Gold Country Chaplaincy
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What a great year it has been! Reflecting on the blessings and challenges Gold Country Chaplaincy has experienced, it’s encouraging knowing God is a very present hope, renewing our strength and sustaining us as we endeavor to reach this community for Him.

We at GCC have a passion to “stand in the gap” for those in need. We also love our military, veterans, and their families. These brave men and women have earned not only our respect, but our support. Our veterans paid a price to protect our nation from enemies both here and across the ocean. Though not all of them have seen the horrors of war, they all were willing to go. Many who gave so much now find themselves in need of assistance after leaving the military. GCC is the best equipped to help these veterans.

In September we held our second annual Placer County Veteran Stand Down, serving over 250 veterans. We got to see a number of little miracles, as we gave a “hand up” to so many veterans. They weren’t looking for a hand out, just a little help to get back on their feet. The Stand Down was made possible by coordinating the efforts and providing leadership to a large number of organizations and over 300 volunteers this year.

One story that stands out was of a veteran who had gotten himself into some legal trouble. He gave up on life many years ago. He eventually found himself homeless. He came to the Stand Down, and went to our free legal counsel area and got the help he needed.

It was as if a huge weight lifted off his shoulders. He said, “This is a brand new day! This has changed my life! It’s time for a haircut.” He went straight over to the Stand Down Barber. His last haircut was 10 years ago. His whole countenance changed, and after the haircut he looked like a new man.

There was also a young veteran with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He communicates well, but his TBI is so severe he can’t hold a job. His sister called the first day of the Stand Down. He had lost a cap on one of his front teeth. He was so embarrassed by the way he looked; he tried to cover his mouth when he spoke. The VA would not cover this. He had no other insurance, so he couldn’t get his tooth fixed. We told her to bring him to the Stand Down, and visit the free mobile dental lab. They were able to fix his smile. They were both very happy. She said, “You made his birthday so special. We can’t thank you enough!”

The Stand Down is just part of what GCC does. We serve military, veterans and their families year round. We are often called at the hardest time of a person’s life. We recently worked with a young marine whose infant died suddenly. We were able to give him and his wife grief counseling, and connect them with resources in the community to support them through this difficult time. We helped them with meals, and performed the very sad funeral service for them. This marine said about the chaplain, “He brought a little ray of sunshine in the middle of the storm of our lives.”

GCC has a growing reputation as the first ones to call in a crisis. We are available for our military, veterans and their families 365 days a year. We have solidified our mission in aiding veterans and their families by providing crisis and pastoral care to those in Placer County in particular, and the Greater Sacramento area and surrounding communities.

Our current plans for the New Year include offering training on suicide prevention. We hope to offer scholarships for veterans to get this training for free. Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two day course on the cutting edge of suicide intervention.

We firmly believe in the impact we’re making in the community and in the miraculous ways God has provided in the past!

Terry Morgan is senior chaplain/executive director of Gold Country Chaplaincy, PO Box 654, Loomis, CA 95650. For more information, call (916) 259-1001 or visit www.goldcountrychaplaincy.org.