Panama City, FL (November 5, 2018) – It was a pause. It was encouraging. On Sunday, November 4, three services were held at various locations throughout the day in Panama City to help maintain the emotional and spiritual health of volunteers and other Salvation Army personnel, even in the midst of providing services and support to those affected by Hurricane Michael.

“At the request of FEMA, The Salvation Army was pleased and grateful to offer interdenominational church services (in conjunction with the Red Cross chaplain) that were well-received for the more than 100 people who attended,” says Major Roxzena Hayden, Emotional and Spiritual Care Specialist.

Hayden is a member of a Canadian Salvation Army Incident Management Team (IMT) that is currently supporting operations in the Florida Panhandle.

Maintaining the emotional and spiritual health of our volunteers and other personnel is critical,” says Hayden. “When volunteers give and give they can easily get exhausted. And when you are tired you can’t provide the support that others need. Our church service was one way we could help people clear their thoughts and reduce stress levels.”

Karen, a volunteer chaplain, was thankful to have the time to recharge.

“I’ve been accompanying one of our canteens for the past seven days,” says Karen. “I will be here for two weeks. My role is to provide emotional and spiritual support to people who are accessing our services. The stories I am hearing and the devastation I’ve seen are heartbreaking. Sometimes listening and talking draws on my energy. Church and God are a great way to refuel.”