By Kendra Nichols
September 12, 2014
CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) -
After responding to several suicides as a police chaplain, a Midstate pastor noticed a need, so he is starting a program that will work to prevent suicides and also help those grieving suicides.
Pastor Chuck Kish says it was a recent suicide that made him realize something more needed to be done.
"I watched as the mother held her son's hand. There were no English words to describe the next 35 minutes between her and her son," Kish said. "Then she stood up and she made the comment, 'This family is going to need counseling.' "
"I thought to myself, 'My goodness, we've got to pull more resources,' and it is not just in the moment that we need to be here, because everybody is going to go back to life as normal, but this lady's going to a life that is going to be very, very different."
Kish came up with the idea for Alpha Omega, the beginning and end, a program that hopefully will prevent suicide and help those who are suffering from a loss.
The Alpha Team will focus on prevention. Trained volunteers will go into schools and talk to students about suicide.
"To be able to speak into students lives when things are that fragile and to give them some words of hope, that's what is driving us," Kish said.
"I just found out a couple of weeks ago that Governor Corbett just passed two large pieces of legislation that is making it required for every school in Pennsylvania to have some type of suicide prevention."
The Omega Team will be made up of chaplains and counselors who can help families heal in the aftermath.
"Empathy is an extremely powerful tool," Kish said.
The pastor is already assembling his teams.
Frank Poley, a volunteer chaplain with Cumberland Goodwill EMS in Carlisle, plans to volunteer with Alpha Omega.
"We see all kinds of situations that you really do not want to remember years down the road," Poley said.
Poley has also been on several scenes where he has had support families who have lost someone to suicide.
"The family always thinks, 'What did I do wrong?.' In many cases, they have not done anything wrong, but that is what they are left with. They stand there alone, and that is where Alpha Omega is going to come in," Poley said.
The teams will include volunteers who have lost someone to suicide.
Amy Hartmann lost her husband Blake to suicide almost 10 years ago.
"I came home and opened the front door and there was a note on the stairwell saying that he had taken his life, call 911, do not go in the garage," Hartman said. "Of course, I immediately ran into the garage and that is where I found him. He had hung himself."
Hartmann is excited about the opportunity to be a part of a program she says is needed to help those hurting from the loss of suicide.
"I want to help them and just be there to hold their hand and let them know you will survive this," she said.
Pastor Kish is looking for volunteers and donations to launch his program.
For more information, contact Pastor Chuck Kish at the Bethel Assembly of God, at 1412 Holly Pike in Carlisle, by calling 717-249-1855.