Responding to First Responders
First Responder Counseling non-profit brings awareness campaign to James Island
By Charlie Morrison
The police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel who serve James Island and the greater Charleston area as first responders represent the best amongst us. Their selflessness, bravery, and poise under pressure are often all that stands between an accident and a tragedy. When tragedy does strike, however, faithfully at their side is another, volunteer member of the first response crisis team, a chaplain. North Charleston-based non-profit the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy (CCC) is in the business of propping up volunteer chaplains they manage through their own network. Feeling they’ve of late lagged on their promotional efforts on this side of the Ashley the 501(c)3 non-profit organization will be taking their mission of raising awareness and money to support the organization.
This Thursday, Nov. 8, the folks from the CCC will be descending upon Castaways Grille, located at 1291 Folly Road in the Island Plaza on Folly Road. The event is highlighted by an all-you-can-eat fish fry served up out on Castaways’ expansive outside porch seating area. Tickets are $20 with $10 from each ticket sold heading straight to the coffers of the CCC, which operates as a.
The CCC traces its roots back to 1991, when the organization was founded by the Rev. Edward Robinson Dewey. Dewey created the group to fulfill a need for crisis counselors to coordinate with local law enforcement and other first response personnel. The group is funded primarily by individual donors, with a small portion of the organization’s operating budget drawing from a myriad of government agencies who support faith-based initiatives like the CCC.
The core mission of the organization is to provide counseling services to first responders, their families and members of the general public. The CCC is a faith-based organization that, over its two-decade history, has forged strong ties to emergency agencies and personnel as well as the region’s various law enforcement agencies. The organization serves the whole of both Charleston and Dorchester counties.
For Jill Martinelli, the organization’s Director of Fundraising, bringing the organization’s message to James Island and areas West of the Ashley is a priority of the organization.
“Our main goal is to work with the first responders … they already have enough to do as it is. So we’re there, if they need to talk, if they need an outlet to get any frustrations out we’re there,” says Martinelli. “But also it makes their job so much easier on the crime scene because we’re able to take the role of comforting and dealing with everything else involved so that the first responders can work more efficiently.”
Booking a venue on the island to play host to an awareness/fundraising event proved tricky for Martinelli, who inherited the project after taking her current position earlier this summer. The event was initially scheduled to be held at Lucky’s Southern Grill just down the road. Unfortunately for CCC and Martinelli (not to mention the folks at Lucky’s), the restaurant recently closed it’s doors. Martinelli was made aware of the impending crisis exactly two weeks before this Thursday’s scheduled event. She utilized a network of local contacts in immediately working out a deal with the management team at Castaways, a fact that for Martinelli, suits her just fine.
“It really came together and I think it almost turned out better than it would have because Castaway’s is just a great location … I love their patio,” says Martinelli. “Honestly, it’s weird, but having to change everything at the last minute has actually helped us because it’s reminded people that the event is going on and I think it’s gotten them excited to realize that we’re really serious about this. It’s worked out to our benefit, I think … I hope. We’ll see on Thursday.”
Castaway’s Grille is located at 1271 Folly Road, in the Island Plaza shopping center. For more information on the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy, see the group’s website at http://www.coastalcrisischaplain.org/, shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, stop by their office at 2500 City Hall Lane, 2nd Floor, in North Charleston, or give them a call at (843) 724-1212. To make a donation, either send a check or money order made out to the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy at their mailing address, P.O. Box 21833, Charleston, SC 29413.