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COVID-19 Resolutions Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
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My COVID-19 Resolutions

New Year’s Day 2020 has come and is now long gone and once again many of us who took time to make those pesky New Year’s resolutions are now looking back and asking ourselves why. As we all know, making them and adhering to them is never the same and is never quite so simple. To achieve any worthwhile goal will always require making some kind of earnest sacrifice.  Maybe that’s why I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. But, if I were to make one, it would most likely be the same resolution that I try to live by every day of my life.

Whenever I place my vanity and the riches of the world at or near the top of my own value system, I’ve generally discovered that whatever I gain never seems to be enough. I always seem to expect more from myself. Whether my goal was to lose weight or earn more money or help more people, it usually makes no difference.

Truth be told, in the end and with my last breath on this earth, my last thoughts will surely not be about the amount of weight that I lost or how much younger that I looked or the size of my bank account. It will hopefully be all about the people that I loved and cared about, and the people who loved me and cared about me; therefore, it might just behoove me to consider them a bit more important right now, don’t you think?

I have read about and known men and women who said, as they approached their “end of days,” that they wished that they’d spent more time with their families. (Well I guess we all are working on that for a while, aren’t we?) Conversely, I’ve never met a single person who stated that they had spent too much time with family; and I’ve never seen a U-Haul filled with possessions in a funeral procession.

So I guess my COVID-19 resolutions will remain the same as they were yesterday and the week before and even last year and will continue to be even after the crisis passes.  I’ll try not to fall into the trap of self-aggrandizement or of seeking the short-term glitter laden pleasures of this world, but strive to remain faithful to my duty to God and my country, to mankind and to you my fellow warriors and family by remaining faithfully anchored in prayer, God’s word and the continued service of others. You see, by doing so, you and I will be truly amazed at just how much that will ultimately result in our building and maintaining incredible relationships with others.

I wish that I could say that I have this down pat, but of course, I’m far from it. I only walk on water when it rains or in the shower (and occasionally very carefully when it is frozen), and that’s okay, because this attitude of service is, I pray, becoming a daily habit. And as we all know, your habits define your character and your character eventually exhibits just who you really are.

All to say this, I hope that you find true joy this year and that you all receive the greatest blessings throughout the entire year and experience the love of God in its purest form.

Semper Fidelis

Ray Fairman, Chaplain                                                                                                                                   

 
SITREP 2020-04-6-1 Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
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Chaplain’s SITREP

 Well the chaplain has returned from his “AWOL” excursion, but really I was on “Permissive TDY” to Florida and Texas. I spent some time on the gulf coast of Florida with my entire family from GA and TX and then deployed to Austin Texas on a support mission to assist my daughter. While There I was drafted by the Austin TX Chapter of MOAA to fill in for their Chaplain who was also out of pocket. I want to thank Both “Bud” Kinney and our President David Dupree for covering my six. Now today I would like to talk about family. You see most of us reading this belong to 3 families’. Yes, three families . . .

 The first family is our biological and legal family – those we are related to by blood and marriage. Those family ties can sustain many of us in the days and weeks following a family member’s eternal departure; even though they are still alive in our hearts. It’s true – you will keep them close to you as long as the memories of them are alive. Death cannot take any of that away.

 The second family I want to talk about is the “Military or Para-Military Family.”  It’s a little different than the first, because you join this family – you aren’t born into it. Joining that family was something each of us wanted to do for many different reasons. When outsiders talk about this family they often feel a bit like intruders. But, outsiders know that the military or para-military sees the world differently than the civilian world. They train to higher standards, they insist on a greater degree of professionalism, and they are far more deeply committed to one another. We play in a different league. Every Law Enforcement Officer, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Coastguardsman and Marine knows that, and anyone who has worked closely with the law enforcement or the military services knows that. Pride is the best way to describe it; it’s not arrogance – arrogance is someone telling you they are better. Military men and women don’t have to say a word. Their actions tell their stories.

 What distinguishes law enforcement and military service from almost every other profession is that each individual member comes to understand that the group is more important than any one person. It starts with boot camp or the academy, and gets reinforced at every step along the way. It’s not about you, it’s about us. You watch out for your buddy, and he watches out for you. We can do together far more than we can do individually. The whole is much greater than the sum of the individuals. And when young men and women like the “Boots and Rookies” who sign on for these chosen careers, discover that reality, they are put in touch with something which is largely unacknowledged in the civilian world. Because, the creed for the civilian world seems to be looking out for number one. Things like duty, honor, courage and commitment seem rather quaint and maybe even outdated to them. But, once you discovered the almost mystical power of working with, and for something larger than yourself, much of what our civilian world values starts to look pretty insignificant.

 It’s for that reason that men and women in these families have little fear of going in harm’s way. They do it for each other, and for all of us. They do it because the big picture is more important than any individual. They are a band of brothers and sisters that cannot be completely understood unless you are one of them yourself.

 This same outlook leads us to the third family I want to talk about, and it is the family of God. All of us belong to that family whether we realize it or not. It too, is marked by deep principles that probably seem silly to many of those around us. Yet, Jesus himself said, “Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.A grunt, or street cop might choose slightly different words, but he understands exactly what was being said. Unless you are willing to risk all for your friend, it would not be possible to pick up a rifle or ride into combat in an APC or a squad car. You do it every day because you trust the person next to you, and because you are committed to not letting him or her down. When Jesus talked about laying down a life, he was talking about what he was willing to do for his friends. A soldier’s heart and a good cop’s heart reflects that love of Jesus. But, Jesus was also inviting us to be a part of a different “band of brothers”. He was inviting us to live a life being as concerned about others as we are about ourselves. And in that sense, military and para-military life and the family of God have an awful lot in common. It’s not about me. It’s about the guy next to me, and the guy next to him. It’s about all of us, and what we can do for each other. Especially in the times of tragedy and uncertainty.

 Our society is in desperate need of those kinds of family values not just now, because of COVID-19, but at all times. People sometimes refer to military life as “the service”. Service sounds to me in this case like a noun, because it’s something we belong to, but, actually it’s a verb. Service is something we offer to others. More specifically it’s something we do for someone else. We do it for the guy next to us, our unit or agency, our country, and ultimately our God. You aren’t just in God’s service; you are the one who does the serving. From my own personal point of view, that’s what motivates Real Cops and Marines – and yes, I am sure all the other services as well. It isn’t the clothes, or the haircuts, or the chance to ride in a helicopter or a patrol car or get shot at. It’s the satisfaction of being one who truly serves. And in that sense, it has a lot in common with the spiritual life provided by Christ.

 Yes we are members of the family of God whether we know it or not because it was He who created us. However, one thing I personally do know, is that we are playing in the big leagues when it comes to the things that ultimately matter to God. Jesus accepted and we have elected a life that involves sacrifice, and one that is constantly measured by things like faith, duty, honor, courage, commitment and above all, service to others. That’s what our military and our God both require.

 That’s what “Semper Fi” means – Always Faithful. Not just when it’s convenient or without cost – faithful even when there is pain and sacrifice.

 Always Faithful, not just to some abstract principles – faithful to the guy on your right, faithful to the guy on your left.

 Always faithful, not just until it begins to be dangerous – but faithful even when it means risking or even losing your life.

 Always faithful, that’s the world that we warriors live in. And the world that you and I inhabit, is much richer because there have always been and will continue to be people like us who were and will be willing to live that way. Not just for the guy on the left and on the right, but for all of us as well.

 Jesus said, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

 When we have finally gone to the Father’s house, I am confident that he will welcome each of us into that household with a hearty greeting of “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Well done to each of us who kept the faith, and who lived a life of service.

 In His Service, God’s Platoon Leader

Chaplain Ray Fairman

 
Summer SITREP 2016 Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
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This is my 13th year as the Winterville Police Department's (WPD) Chaplain. My name is Ray Fairman. I am a retired 45 year sworn peace officer who continues to support my chosen profession at home and away by continuing to serve, as I have for the last 13 years, as a police chaplain for the Winterville (GA) Police Department (WPD) as well as the Winterville American Legion Post #20 (ALP#20), the Athens GA Area Military Officers Association (AAMOAA) and several other Athens, Georgia area veteran's and law enforcement organizations. I have also served for many years as source of support to NASRO Chaplain Archie Hodge since we both became charter members of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) back in 1990 when we were both SRO's and members of the Florida Association of School Resource Officers (FASRO) which gave "birth" to NASRO.

 Well I just returned from representing the WPD on a 28 day 5700 mile journey across the USA and back visiting military bases and law enforcement agencies while promoting law enforcement Chaplaincy programs as well as Critical/Traumatic Incident Debriefings and Peer Counseling and support services as well as Critical Incident Stress reduction efforts in support our country's law enforcement and military first responders.

A part of the purpose for making this journey was also to serve NASRO as a duty chaplain and to conduct the Sunday Morning Communion Services, offer spiritual and other support services as well as advice and counsel to the over 900 law enforcement families represented at the 2016 National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) Training Conference in Anaheim, California (the hometown back in 1970 of my first Civilian Police Department) starting on July 10th 2016." This was my 26th year as a member of NASRO after becoming a charter member in 1990, the year it was founded; and since I am begining to get buisier locally with chaplaincy duties and this was likely going to be my last consecutive conference, was honored to be recognized this year with an Executive Citation Award for my 16 years of Spiritual Guidance and Support to the organization as one of its chaplains. While I plan to continue to remain a member of NASRO, my presence at our annual conferences will be reduced due to my increasing work load as chaplain for The Georgia Association of Law Enforcement Chaplains and his other Athens GA area chaplaincy responsibilities.

My visiting of military bases and support for military chaplains becomes more understandable when you realize I am a retired USMC Chief Warrant Officer 4 serving continuously as both an active duty US Marine and as a Marine Reservist from 1963 to 2006.

As a serving Police Chaplain I hav always conducted my travel and trips voluntarily and at no expense to NASRO in conjunction with my duties as a volunteer assistant chaplain with the National Association of School Resource Officers, a relationship he began as an SRO myself some 31 years ago while an SRO with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office in Florida.

I had already begun my trip west and was in western Oklahoma when the Dallas Police Department (DPD) ambush took place and later was in Northern California when the tragic Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) event occurred. If I had not been already committed to my assignment, you can rest assured I would have been on my way to first one and then the other location to offer my support and services "gratis" to any of the agencies/officers impacted.

The media drenched tragedies that unfolded during my trip, made for some very timely, yet very difficult, but never the less interesting meetings with law enforcement officers and administrators along the way. Having served on police, sheriffs and federal agencies during his career and at various line, supervisory, command and administrative level positions, I was able to listen to the concerns of all echelons, including fears, issues and potential solutions from numerous sources regarding the tensions and troubles being experienced by officers and agencies alike and act as a sounding board for anyone looking for a myriad of answers to some very difficult questions.

While discussing these things with personnel from more than 250 agencies during my 28 days on the road during July, as well as a host of citizens, I found many of them on both sides of that "Thin Blue Line", still quite willing to support their communities across all vocational, racial, ethnic and social barriers. While I found many agencies had addressed some of the concerns of the officers and communities with paid or volunteer chaplaincy units (some had a mix of civilian chaplains and sworn officer chaplains and some were civilian volunteers only) and some had ICISF CIRT teams available I was also made aware that others did not. Some administrations felt that any sort of chaplains or debriefing teams were totally unnecessary. Others had already placed trained officers as peer support counselors in various divisions. So as you can well see there is no set or standard answer, however, one common concern from both rank and file alike was the dearth of qualified law enforcement chaplains with a real understanding of life behind the badge. Crossing that "blue line" is not the easiest journey to make, especially for many church professionals who are solely theologically trained.

Considering myself to be a Non-Denominational Christian, who built a 4 decade career as a cop before turning to my current support role, led me to what I feel is a better understanding of what the job I now pursues as a volunteer, can really accomplish. I have for years been operating in the local, state and national arenas as an inter-faith chaplain and have been responding to disasters like Hurricane Katrina, Campus Mass Shooting Incidents like VA Tech and Northern Illinois University as a Winterville Police Department representative (LEO/Chaplain) for many years.

However,  "one thing I learned when I went to spend 5 weeks as a sworn officer/chaplain in New Orleans during the Katrina aftermath and a couple of week-long assignments at VA Tech and Northern Illinois University after the campus shooting incidents, is that while we in law enforcement would like to remain immune to and above being impacted by tragic events..., being able to talk about our true feelings and share them with others who understand our feelings and coping mechanisms..., and who may have even gone through some of the things we have seen, done and for some time even been keeping subdued themselves..., can draw us closer and help us cope and make us stronger in ways that do not manifest themselves as destructive to our job, communities, families, agencies and ourselves."

I have received extensive training from The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) in counseling and Critical Incident Debriefing; and I and my wife of 47 years have also served on staff for a number of years with a team of Law Enforcement Officers and Police Chaplains who held Law Enforcement Family, Marriage and Crisis Incident Issue Retreats.

One positive side effect of My recent visits and discussions and the DPD and BRPD tragedies that I experienced as my trip progressed, was that many officers wanted to do something for the DPD and BRPD chaplains who were being thrust into the center of these media fueled and public events in such dire times. Many LEO's of all ranks felt that the public and their departments would remember the officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their communities and their families, but would unintentionally overlook the impact of the heightened responsibilities and demands placed on the chaplains working for and with the officers and the families. Even the agencies themselves might miss the additional stresses placed on them and their families.

Many of them "Rank and File officers" alike (including quite a few SRO's at our Anaheim conference) asked me to accept and collect their small donations and pass them along in bulk to the impacted department's chaplains units to be used to replenish their supplies or purchase needed equipment since many units or chaplains are volunteers. I agreed to act as a repository for their funds and not only to divide the donations equally, but said I would match 50% of what I had collected as a total when I returned home. I amassed nearly $1000.00 in small donations from police officers by the time I returned home. I have since my return sent a donation in the form of a check for $750.00 to the Baton Rouge Police Department's Chaplaincy Liaison Officer Lt Duran Boyce and over $1500.00 worth of requested supplies to Chaplain Mike Middlebrooks of the Dallas Police Department (the DPD Chaplains could not accept monetary donations but could accept materials they could put to good use) I expect additional donations to trickle in and will send them out as they arrive.

Now that I have returned to Winterville GA, my plate is still full as I will be leaving for a week this month to teach in the Georgia Association Oof Law Enforcement Chaplains (GALEC) Basic Class while attending our Advanced Class for Law Enforcement Chaplains in South Georgia (below the "gnat line" for those of you who know Georgia) and resuming my duties as the AAMOAA Chaplain & ALP#20 Chaplain since both veterans organizations will also be starting up again this month.

 If you need anything that I can help with just let me know. Use the contact tab on the menu to send me an email.

So until later, God Bless those of us still working in the fields, Stay Safe and 10-23 till next time.

 
Marine's Son Needs Prayer Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
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Please add your prayers for the 4 month old infant son of Marine Patrick Winslow.

The child was born in need of a liver transplant and is holding on while a donor

is searched for and hopefully soon located.

 
A Little Offer of Help From A Friend Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
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Recently I attended the 25th Annual National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) Conference as I have done for many years. I was a founding member of that great organization when it was birthed out of the Florida Association of School Resource Officers (FASRO) back in 1990. (I am now the Chaplain for the fledgling Georgia SRO Association called Georgia Association of School Safety Professionals - GAASSP) For the last 12 years I have been attending NASRO as both an SRO and an assistant to NASRO Chaplain Archie Hodge a former Jackson MS SRO and Chaplain.

Archie began n Evening Praise Service and I began a Sunday Morning Worship and Communion Servicein about 2000. I also man a booth during the Exhibit Hall hours dedicated to Police Chaplaincy where I provide at low or mostly no cost, inspirational items to the attendees and their families. I give out Police Bibles (Now called Law Enforcement Officers Bibles) , Children's books, copies of my books and articles, Books by other Christian authors and police related materials as well. I also try to offer encouragement, advice when asked for, historical wisdom if appropriate and counsel when asked. I feel someone needs to support the LEO and Military Families and having spent over 4 decades in each profession; still being married to the only wife I ever had for those same 4 decades, I have accepted the challenge. God Bless those who try because I sure can't do it all by myself and I surely can't do it without Him.

During this last conference a young lady came up to my booth and offered me a deck of playing cards, She was an SRO and an Artist. She told me that they were very special cards and she wanted me to have them. She was the artist who designed the deck and she has designed the artwork on several other decks being produced a former high school Financial Secretary with whom she worked and then later became friends. The SRO's name was Andrea and the first thing I thought of when I saw the deck she offered me was the old Tex Ritter song about a soldier brought before the Provost Marshal for playing cards in church. I will add the words to that old classic to the end of this article. Anyway, the deck of cards Andrea gave me had "Serve and Protect" artwork on the back of the card and in addition to the suit and card rank there were Special Scripture Verses on the front that all apply to the law enforcement profession. Andrea thought that I might not only like the cards but since I deploy to disaster scenes in my ministry that I might be able to use them to offer some encouragement to both my military and LEO brothers as well as some EMT's and Fire folks as well. One of the other decks is an Armor of God Deck with different appropriate verses assigned. I loved the idea but since the decks are a new home business for the owner, Leslie, and since I operate my entire ministry on my retirement checks that also need to support my wife and I and our retired life I was limited to only purchasing a few decks to add to my inventory.

However, Leslie contacted me after praying about it and wrote a post on her blog about an idea she had for helping me increase that inventory before I head out to ny next conference. I am asking you to click on the links below to read her post and to see the cards she has produced. There may be others of you who feel they could use her cards in their own work as I intend to do.

  https://www.myinspirationcards.com/serve-how-can-we-serve/                         https://www.myinspirationcards.com/store/

Thanks forreading this and I did promise to include the words to Tex's old classic so here they are:   "Friends, this is Tex Ritter with a strange story about a soldier boy and a deck of cards.

During the North African campaign, a bunch of soldier boys had been on a long hike and they arrived in a little town called Casino. The next morning being Sunday, several of the boys went to church. A Sergeant commanded the boys in church and after the Chaplain had read the prayer the text was taken up next. Those of the boys who had a prayer book took them out. But this one boy only had a deck of card and so he spread them out. The sergeant saw the cards and said, "Soldier, put away those cards." After the services were over the soldier was taken prisoner and was taken before the Provost Marshal. The Marshal said Sergeant, "Why have you brought this man here?" "For playing cards in church, Sir." "And what do you have to say for yourself son?" "Much, Sir" replied the soldier. The Marshal said, "I hope for if not, I shall punish you more harshly than any man was ever punished." The soldier said, "Sir, I have been on a march for six days and I had neither Bible nor prayer book, but I hope to satisfy you, Sir, with the purity of my intentions." With that the boy started his story.

You see sir when I see the Ace it reminds me that there is but one God. And the deuce reminds me the Bible is divided into two parts, the Old and the New Testament. And when I see the three, I think of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. When I see the four, I think of the four evangelists who preached the gospel, there was Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. And when I see the five it reminds me of the five wise virgins who trimmed their lamps. There were ten of them, five were wise and were saved and five were foolish and were shut out. And when I see the six it reminds me that in six days God made this great heaven and earth. And when I see the seven it reminds me that on the seventh day God rested from his great work. And when I see the eight, I think of the eight righteous people God saved when he destroyed this earth. There was Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives. And when I think of the nine, I think of the leapers our savior cleansed and nine of the ten didn't even thank him. When I see the ten, I think of the Ten Commandments God handed down to Moses on a table of stone. When I see the king, it reminds me that there is but one king in heaven, God all Mighty. And when I see the queen, I think of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is queen of heaven. And the Jack or knave is the Devil.

When I count the number of spots of a deck of cards I find three hundred and sixty-five, the number of days in a year. There are fifty-two cards, the number of weeks in a year. There's four suits, the number of weeks in a month. There's twelve picture cards, the number of months in a year. There are thirteen tricks, the number of weeks in a quarter.

So you see, Sir, my deck of cards serves me as a Bible, almanac, and prayer book. And friends I know that story is true ‘cause I knew that soldier."

 
Are You a Negotiator or Compromiser? Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
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Before you answer that question, ask yourself this question. Where do you as a person draw the line between negotiation and compromise and is that line necessary? It will be my contention that the line and subsequent decision to draw it is based on your acceptance of the societal predisposition to blur the line between healthy and unhealthy compromises.
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