Donna Wick

dw pr / marketing, media & public relations


Emergency Ministries Remembers 9/11 and all First Responders as it Gears Up for its “Hope for Heroes” Gala

Keynote speaker Don Piper also has biographical motion picture being released on Sept. 11

THE WOODLANDS, TX (September 10, 2015) – Emergency Ministries, a nonprofit organization that offers crisis chaplaincy services to emergency service personnel and their families, holds Patriot Day – the anniversary of 9/11 – dear to its collective heart every year. On September 11, 2001, of the nearly 3,000 who perished during the initial attacks on the World Trade Center, 343 were New York City firefighters, another 23 were New York City police officers, 37 others were officers at the Port Authority and 8 were EMTs and paramedics.

J.C. “Skip” Straus, MA, BCC, CCC, EMT-P, and founder/CEO/Senior Chaplain of Emergency Ministries, notes that the devastating effects on the thousands of first responders who were on site at these incidents still permeate their lives. “Every day a first responder answers a call, they know they will most likely be exposed to horrendous sights and situations,” he said. “No matter their strength and professionalism, being part of those situations can have cataclysmic effects on them – and those around them – if they don’t have trained persons to ‘walk with them’ through the crisis. That’s where Emergency Chaplain Group comes in.”

Straus, who himself spent five weeks at the World Trade Center site, notes that some emergency services organizations have Employee Assistance Programs available. However, sometimes first responders will only open up to another first responder – someone who knows what they have lived through. Emergency Ministries, founded in 1998, is a group of specially trained chaplains who respond to the needs of the first responder community both on-scene and “behind-scene,” with an emphasis on Critical Incident Stress and Post Traumatic Stress services. The services offered by Emergency Ministries are without regard to religious affiliation (or lack thereof). “One thing that makes us unique is that we require all of our Chaplains to have worn a badge,” Straus said.

Emergency Ministries is hosting its 4th annual gala on Thursday, November 12 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott & Convention Center. The gala, whose theme this year is “Hope for Heroes,” will feature as its keynote speaker Don Piper, author of the book and subject of the major motion picture “90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life.” The film is being released on September 11 in cinemas across the country.

“We are primarily funded by donations, and this gala is our annual opportunity to raise the funds needed to provide these crucial services our everyday heroes and their families,” said Straus.

Nim Kidd, Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, is master of ceremonies of the gala. Last year’s keynote speaker, former DOD Police Sergeant Kim Munley, a real-life hero who was the officer who stopped the rampage at the Fort Hood shootings, will attend as a “special returning guest.”

More information for the “Hope for Heroes” gala can be found on the website at www.emchap.org or by emailing hopeforheroes@emchap.org. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available for this open-to-the-public event.