Central Emergency Services has added a fire department chaplain to its rolls the first fire chaplain to serve the central Kenai Peninsula.
"My purpose is twofold," said Keith Randall, who also serves the community as director of administration for Peninsula Grace Brethren Church on Kalifornsky Beach Road.
"In serving those who serve others, I will be available to members of the fire department, and I'll be a resource for department personnel to use when on the scene (of an emergency)," he said.
In fact, Randall, who was named chaplain in early September, already has been on an emergency call in his new position.
Paramedics responded to a medical emergency and when they arrived with a mother needing treatment at Central Peninsula General Hospital, Randall was called to assist the woman's teenage daughter.
"I like to say, I just hung out with her," said Randall, who waited with the teen, talking and sitting with her while her mother was being treated, freeing up CES and hospital staff to do their work with the mother.
A former school teacher, director of Higher Ground Baptist Camp in Sterling, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula youth worker and father of two boys, Randall said he found the girl very receptive to his company.
A licensed minister with Peninsula Grace, Randall attended training with the Alaska Police Chaplains Ministries in Anchorage and accepted the CES post, which was created following department reviews as a suggested way to improve CES.
Randall said his ability to listen to people and hear what's in their hearts enables him to remain focused even in a fast-paced, crisis environment.
"I have a real compassion for people," he said.
Although he does not represent one particular religious denomination as the fire department chaplain, he said he brings in the spiritual side of things.
As an on-call member of the department, he currently is riding along with responders to get a feel for what they experience when they're on emergency calls.
He also is working to establish a network of people who can come together in the event of a major emergency or disaster affecting the Kenai Peninsula.
Randall is uncertain if he will pursue becoming a trained medic or firefighter.
"At this point, my goal is to be the best chaplain," he said.
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