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Polk Fire Chaplains Assist in Miami Condo Recovery Mission

Published on Jul 12, 2021

Bartow, Fla. (July 12, 2021) — Polk County Fire Rescue’s chaplains are assisting first responder crews in the Surfside Condo recovery mission in Miami.

Chaplain Murphy Hanley returned last week from a three-day deployment and Sherri Grimes and Bill DeHart are serving multi-day deployments this week. Their assistance was requested from Miami Dade Fire Rescue.

“Our fellow firefighters requested our service in this tragedy, and we are proud to assist them in any way we can,” Polk Fire Chief Robert Weech said. “Our chaplains provide an invaluable service for the spiritual health and mental wellbeing of all firefighters. And in a circumstance, such as this in Miami, their services are in great demand.”

Polk’s chaplains work with firefighters and emergency medical personnel to provide valuable guidance to those who need emotional or spiritual support. They use a non-denominational approach and promote a culture of religious tolerance and acceptance.

In the case of the Miami search and recovery mission, they are also on the ground with first responders, in hard hats and at the ready to immediately provide their services.

“There is nothing easy about responding to a tragedy like this,” Weech added. “That scene takes an emotional and physical toll on those first responders working it. I’m proud our chaplains can assist in comforting those who are working to bring closure to all the families affected by this.”