St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
159 Todd Avenue, Hermitage PA 16148-1729
(724) 342-2310 + www.StPaulsHermitage.org
The Rev. David J. Williamson, pastor of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Hermitage and chaplain of the Hermitage Fire Department, received the Ed Stauffer [Founder’s] Award from the Federation of Fire Chaplains (FFC) at their annual training conference in Florida on October 21, 2015.
The founder and executive director of the 37 year old, 1,500 member international organization (www.FireChaplains.org), Chaplain Ed Stauffer of Texas, personally presented the award, which is given to one chaplain each year.
Williamson was cited for his leadership in bringing internationally-accredited training and nationally-recognized instructors to western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio for the past seven years to train fire and police chaplains, local clergy, and first responders.
“Shortly after I came to Hermitage, two firefighters in Pine Township were badly burned – one, fatally – trying to rescue a woman,” said Williamson. “In the process of helping their fellow firefighters, I learned that we had no FFC-trained chaplains in the area, so I contacted some of the best instructors in the country to come to Hermitage and educate chaplains, pastors, and emergency responders to bring spiritual and emotional care to people.”
Prior to his joining the Hermitage Fire Department in 2007, he served as the chaplain of the Kensington, Bolton, and Hebron Fire Departments in Connecticut, and chaplain of the Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association. He is certified as a “Master Chaplain” by the Federation of Fire Chaplains, is pending certification as a “Senior Chaplain” by the International Conference of Police Chaplains, has a Certificate of Specialized Training in Spiritual Care in Crisis Intervention from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, and is board certified in school and university crisis response by the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Chaplain officer basic and advanced courses, and has a Master of Divinity degree from Yale.
The next seminar in Hermitage is scheduled for May 23 and 24, 2016, and will cover providing spiritual and emotional care to victims and first responders during disasters. The Federation of Fire Chaplains will hold their 2016 training conference October 14-20 in Perrysville, Ohio.