Ray Schufford served as a firefighter for Dallas Fire-Rescue for nearly 25 years. But in February 2017, he was promoted to the Chaplain position. This, he said, was his calling.
I felt like God was placing me in a position that I could help so many other people because of the things that I had gone through, personally in my own life, because I could actually speak to whatever they were dealing with,” said
As a Chaplain, Schufford supported
the 2,000 members of the fire department, along with the department’s retirees, as well as provided guidance, encouragement, and counseling as a trusted comrade and friend. Some of his day-to-day roles included hospital visits, officiating weddings, onsite fire detail, and crisis management.
Now retired, Schufford is still working to help people as much as possible. He has recently started a non-profit organization to help his fellow first responders, “2 The Next Shift
“The help comes with providing them with counseling resources, providing them with if they need something, you know, financially,” he said. “Any way that I can give a (sic) encouraging word, you know, because I really feel like that’s the thing that first responders need most these days: encouragement.
2 The Next Shift is “dedicated to providing first responders with support, solutions and a successful pathway to maintaining a positive mindset as well as a healthy lifestyle — mentally, physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually.”
Schufford stated the current culture for responders
is to be seen as a savior for everyone. It can be hard for them to admit when they need help, says Schuufford, and he wants them to know that support is available when they want it.
“It’s OK to say, ‘Hey, you know what I need to go talk to somebody.'” said Schufford. “A counselor or a friend, or just someone that says. ‘Hey, I’m with you. I’m not gonna leave you…. I’m gonna walk with you so you can make it to that next shift.”
May GOD bless and protect our 1st responders