Kristin Cole                      972.267.1111
                        [email protected]



Crisis Response Team Works with Locals
in Hardest Hit Areas of West Tennessee


Corporate Chaplains of America is mobilizing local chaplains in its Crisis Response Team to provide emotional care for victims and first responders in West Tennessee where deadly tornados touched down the evening of Feb. 5.

"Those affected by these tornados have experienced tremendous loss of items, property and even lives," said Chris Hobgood, Corporate Chaplains of America vice president of chaplain and project development. "Though we can never replace these losses, we can help them cope emotionally as they pick up the pieces and provide care for the journey ahead."

Three middle and west Tennessee corporate chaplains traveled yesterday to the surrounding areas of Jackson, Tenn., one of the hardest hit areas, to provide on-site care to residents. Working with Ararat Baptist Church, the team canvassed 30 to 40 home sites offering encouragement, prayer and hope. In addition, they are providing this same type of care to the first responders during their meal breaks and between shifts.

The team will continue working today visiting displaced residents of a local nursing home that was destroyed as well as those hospitalized with injuries.

The Corporate Chaplains of America Crisis Response Team is a new initiative that began after the Virginia Tech trauma last year. Each team is trained and certified using International Critical Incident Stress Management Foundation methods with an added faith component. Since its inception, over a dozen chaplains have been trained throughout the nation.

In addition to the Crisis Response Team, Corporate Chaplains of America is also working to enlist help from local residents who are working toward becoming Community Chaplains of America, a program tested last fall and launching this year. The program works to train laypersons to provide genuine physical, emotional, spiritual and personal care in their communities where they work, rest and play. The accreditation process includes 84 hours of study through an Empowerment Kit with education books, interactive workbooks and CDs and official commissioning from a local church body.

"This unfortunate disaster proves a need for the Community Chaplains of America program," said Jeff Hilles, senior vice president of Corporate Chaplains of America. "As this program grows and more individuals are commissioned around the U.S., we will be able to pair them with experienced, seminary-trained corporate chaplain teams to immediately respond to emergencies in a synergistic way."

The vision of Corporate Chaplains of America is to have thousands of chaplains serving millions of people by 2012.

Based in Wake Forest, N.C., Corporate Chaplains of America was founded in 1996 to provide genuine "Caring in the Workplace," while following a structured business plan built upon process management principles. The full-time, long-term, career chaplains hold seminary-level or higher degrees and pursue certification through 154 hours of continuing education within the first year of tenure, helping combine workplace experience with professional chaplaincy training. Today, with nearly 100 chaplains, Corporate Chaplains of America serves some 600 business locations around the U.S. For more information, visit

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos are available upon request. For additional information or to interview a representative from Corporate Chaplains of America, contact Kristin U. Cole at 972-267-1111 or [email protected].