Excerpts from the dailynorthwestern.com:

Monté Dillard and Heath Howe have both become Evanston Fire Department chaplains since the summer of 2020. Their work is multi-faceted, but centers around building relationships with members of the Evanston Fire Department. Along with other responsibilities, this requires visiting the firehouses and arriving at the scene during crises.

Part of their role as chaplains is also to comfort victims. This isn’t a task naturally built into the jobs of other fire department members. It’s common for the chaplains to follow up with members of the fire department and victims of situations, at times even making hospital visits.

While fire department staff and victims know about the chaplain’s support network, they can choose how much to engage with them. The chaplains said they seek to provide support to whoever needs it across all cultures. 

Dillard and Howe filled a vacancy left by Howe’s late husband, David Jones, who served as the department’s chaplain from 2011 until his passing in 2020.

After Jones’ passing, former fire chief Brian Scott asked Howe if she would be interested in taking up the role. While Jones performed the work as a retiree, Howe worked full time as an Episcopalian priest, which made her nervous about the time commitment.

Howe is the rector of Church of the Holy Comforter in Kenilworth and Dillard serves as senior pastor at First Church of God Christian Life Center in Evanston. Dillard said working together allows them to best serve the fire department, their congregations, and each other. 

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