Behind the Shield: Richard and Naomi Dassow, The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County Chaplains
Richard and Naomi Dassow have been involved in The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County Chaplaincy Program for over two years. They started as volunteers and then became chaplains for our program. They go out to community events in Milwaukee neighborhoods, vigils for families suffering death of children or spouses, crime scenes after suicides, drug OD’s, baby deaths, homicides and sudden unexplained deaths. Richard and Naomi have gone to each of these crisis events to comfort, support, many times just to listen or pray with the families. The goal of the Chaplaincy Program is to work alongside the Milwaukee police in various community building initiatives, helping to build positive relationships and support community members in a proactive way before crime hits the streets, being a small part of a great team, doing the most good to help Milwaukee to be a healthy community, reflecting the Kingdom of God.
Q. How did you first learn about The Salvation Army and the Chaplaincy Program?
A. We learned about the training offered for chaplains through the police and sponsored by K-Love radio a few years ago. We had already taken disaster response training with the BGEA a couple years before but had never been deployed (most events over 200 miles out of Wi and other chaplains called). We wanted to be involved in our own community and already had some experience with responding to fires through another volunteer agency.
Q. What is your favorite part about being involved with The Salvation Army Chaplaincy Program?
A. We love this program! We support the Christian mission of Salvation Army and the opportunities to serve and reach out in love to those hurting. We have learned to really care about people that may have a very different background as us, but have the same feelings and needs for compassion as all people.
Q. What has been your favorite experience/event with The Salvation Army?
A. The funeral of a young person when Jesse Jackson spoke to the packed church and urged young people to come forward and give their lives to Christ. I think over half of the church came forward.
Q. What is one thing you believe the world should know about The Salvation Army?
A. It is a great experience to be serving as chaplains in a diverse multi ethnic Christian group: 50 plus brothers and sisters representing over 39 different churches and 13 or more denominations. A diverse group, culturally, socially, economically and geographically…just like Heaven will be like and we can experience a little of it right here in Milwaukee! What an opportunity to serve, using our spiritual gifts, strengths, abilities, passion and are we are still learning.
Q. Is there anything you’d like to add?
A. God has definitely given us the strength to do things and be places we would never venture to on our own. He has given us the love and words as we need them. We are pretty frail vessels, but God keeps filing us with His Spirit. We have prayed the refrain of a song: “God break my heart for what breaks yours.” This is painful but He provides the love and mercy to cover us.
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