News: Cooperative Religious Ministry Duty Section supports Hampton Roads Military
By MC2(SW) Eric Garst, U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs
NORFOLK, Va. - Lt. Todd Trumble, a Navy chaplain at Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (CNSL) Ministry Center, answers the phone at 1 a.m. The voice on the other end is a frantic mother who thinks her son wants to hurt himself.
Trumble doesn't panic. His composed, decisive tone provides the woman with a calming influence. He asks a few simple questions, "What is his name? What command is he attached to? What city does he live in?"
Trumble has 15 years of pastoral experience, and he immediately puts that experience to work.
He is one of about 90 chaplains in the Hampton Roads area who is handling calls like this on a regular basis. In October 2011, U.S. Fleet Forces established the Cooperative Religious Ministry Duty Section.
"The institution of the military can seem very cold at times," says Trumble. "It's our responsibility and our privilege to provide the type of care you would expect from a huge organization, but make it very personal and make it very safe."
The Cooperative Religious Ministry Duty Section means there's always a chaplain available for service members, spouses, children and other family members in need-24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.
"The duty chaplain is there to help or to find the phone numbers for organizations, such as Fleet and Family Support Center, that can help," says Cmdr. Hal Scott, command chaplain for Joint Forces Staff College. "We will walk you through the steps to find some kind of resolution, or answers to the problem."
Each duty chaplain is familiar with the mission and expertise of local agencies. They have a unique understanding of who to reach out to in just about every situation.
"All of our chaplains are trained to ensure quality care is received for everyone who calls," says Cmdr. Russell Graef, a chaplain who oversees training and certification for the Fleet Chaplain's Office at U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
Graef said it's a common misperception that chaplains only perform counseling and provide religious accommodation, but in fact they work across six main focus areas.
1. Counseling: In times of personal, family, and/or professional distress
2. Information and Referral: Rich resource and an advocate for seeking information
3. Religious Accommodation: Locating worship opportunities (on or off base)
4. Facilitating Communication: Assist families and deployed Sailors in making contact
5. Emergency Response: Assist in dealing with Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse, or Operational Stress
6. Individual Augmentee (IA) Sailors and Family Support: Preparing for, serving in, or returning from an IA
The focus doesn't change for the duty chaplains. From counseling to deployment support, to locating a family member, they're available to assist.
It didn't take Trumble long to track down the subject of his early morning phone call. The sailor was at a nearby hospital, but he was safe. He immediately reached back to the family and gave them the news. They were relieved and grateful that their son was receiving the care he needed.
If you find yourself, another service member, or a family member in a troubling situation and you need to talk to a duty chaplain in Hampton Roads, someone can always be reached at (757) 438-3822.