|1/30/2020 3:13:00 PM|
Equipment for the body, guidance for the soul; this non-profit has both covered
Cardboard boxes sit in a row on the floor of the gymnasium, at Kost Church, west of Almelund.
Big enough to contain a riding lawnmower, these boxes are filling with donated firefighting equipment as a semi trailer nearby stores the big stuff. Each box holds firefighting helmets, gloves, jackets, trousers, breathing apparatus, tools, and other goods that firefighters around here and in Wisconsin, no longer use.
Items may have cycled out of departments but they are light years better-made and safer than what the recipients of this equipment are currently using. Donations will go to locations in the southern hemisphere and eastward, where nations like Peru, Kosovo, Moldova and Ukraine welcome them.
The Christian Chaplain Ministries International (CMI) Board has plans to transport this particular collection of donated goods to Peru and Ukraine, with the first shipment due to head out in a matter of days and the other this fall.
Shipping is costly. But the investment yields priceless returns.
Mark Allen, CMI leader, said the equipment physically enforces the spiritual connection the local Christian emergency responder chaplaincy organization seeks to make.
The principle motivation of the non-profit organization, which Allen helped establish in 2007, is to build Christian relationships through chaplaincy spreading God’s love.
The group members have found out over the years that the equipment that stays behind is a tangible reminder that people care.
Nobody is paid any wage for being part of this, all funds go into storing, shipping and training materials.
The nations receiving donated items frequently contribute financially, but this isn’t a requirement.
Sue Humble, CMI Board member, added that we live in such a disposable world here. If it weren’t for the CMI the equipment would likely be thrown away. If these donations can be used in other parts of the planet and save peoples’ lives, why would this group not do this.
Humble said she has been to locations and seen how the connection is immediate and real between fire personnel receiving the CMI donations and the firefighters who accompany the transports.
Chaplain instructor Lee Schumann spoke a little about how the symbolism of what CMI is doing is not lost on those involved.
Wearing the proper gear can literally physically prevent injury and save a life. Individuals and communities touched by God’s love through CMI will be figuratively ‘saved.’
Another Board member, Phil DeMunck observed he has noticed in the faces and actions of the families of the far away firefighters; that they have less fear when loved ones head to a disaster, “...they have a sense of more security and confidence” when decent protective equipment is part of the program.
As a non-governmental operation or NGO, this group has opened doors that bureaucrats can’t, Shumann said. The personal touch is what makes the difference. If this equipment were to simply be shipped and not monitored, and accompanied by real people, there’s the potential for corruption. The items might not make it to where they were meant to.
CMI also accepts medical first aid-type supplies and has even transported actual trucks along with turnout gear and firefighter supplies.
The thing is, Allen stated, “God has blessed us here in the United States and we have found a way to share this with the world.
“We want to say, be safe in your work.”
To send a check to help with transport costs or to ask about making an equipment donation to the 501C3 group today:
The website is at chaplainministriesinternational.org.
The group is Chaplain Ministries International mailing address is P.O. Box 451 Lindstrom, MN 55045.