Excerpts from centralillinoisproud.com:

In October of 2023, Peoria Fire Chief Shawn Sollberger announced the new Fire Chaplain Program and its leader, Chaplain William Preston. On Tuesday, all twelve stations have their very owner chaplain.

The mission, to provide mental and emotional support to firefighters during and after trauma. They are also there for the community as they go through, potentially, the worst day of their life. House fires, medical calls, anywhere they are needed, they respond.

Modeled from the Peoria Police Department’s chaplain program, the fire chief thought it would be a great idea to have someone available for his crew and the community.

“The average individual deals with about four traumatic events in a lifetime right. But a firefighter sometimes sees that in a day. So I think just to have someone to talk to, even if it’s not spiritual, religious, but someone who’s outside of that battle space, outside of that challenge that they’re in every day, that is just kind of a breather, a refresher, a breath of fresh air.”

Preston said helping firefighters cope with some experiences on the job can make them more efficient at serving Peoria.

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