Ellis County firefighters are on a journey seeking truth and understanding to help minister to their fellow coworkers during difficult times.

Area first responders are taking part in a 12-week Bible study called the Truth Project, which gives them the tools and resources to help change lives.

“We go on some pretty traumatic calls from time to time whether it is a car accident, fires, even CPR or just people in desperate situations. Constant exposure to that type of lifestyle on a regular basis can be pretty hardening on the firefighters and other first responders in general,” Midlothian firefighter Scott Spaulding said. “Unfortunately it is common within our culture to deal with those stresses both inside and outside of the work place in a negative manner. The results can be pretty catastrophic. It can be everything from alcoholism to divorce or suicide.”

The Bible study is administered through a group call Responder Life and it is geared towards individuals who serve in law enforcement and as firefighters, paramedics and dispatchers. The 12-week course is a worldview study that teaches first responders the fundamental elements of their faith by providing answers questions such as: What is truth? Who is God? What is true? and Does God care?

“This was something that I had to get involved with. We are on duty every third day and our wives and families are at home on that third day by themselves. If we work overtime we are gone for two days. It is a crazy cycle,” Waxahachie Fire Department pump engineer Billy Vest said. “I was doing a search online where I could get plugged in with some kind of Christian organization. I got involved (with Responder Life), because I needed this in the department for myself because I had so much going on in my life.”

Vest said the 12-week study has helped to change his life and helped change the lives of others.

So far 10 Waxahachie firefighters from B-shift and a few others from the community are taking part in this weekly study.

Spaulding said first responders have the tendency to compartmentalize difficult calls and not deal with them as they take place. As responders return to base stations jokes become a way of venting a little of the stress and frustration.

“In the course of 10, 15 or 20 years of coming back to the station, not dealing with those issues and the more calls you throw into that closet, eventually all of those calls are going to come toppling out,” Spaulding said. “If you don’t deal with those calls in a healthy manner when they first come about, then all of the emotional and psychological stress comes toppling down on you later, and it can send you into a tailspin.”

Vest said the Bible study would give Christian first responders the tools to not only be a witness for Christ in their own departments, but also have the resources to approach someone who is dealing with a difficult issue.

Future class studies are planned as interest in the program builds.

For more information, contact Vest at 469-556-4612 or Spaulding at 214-289-5679.

For more information about Responder Life, visit www.responderlife.com. For more information on the Truth Project, go to www.thetruthproject.org.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.