Last year the Costa Mesa Fire Department went on the search for its own chaplain to help firefighters as they deal with the traumatic situations they can be exposed to on a daily basis.
The day Costa Mesa Canopy Church Pastor Joshua Harrison started, Fire Capt. Mike Kreza was hit by a car on a training ride for an Ironman competition. He died two days later.
“Chief Dan Stefano called me and asked me to come to the hospital and meet with the firefighters,” Harrison said. “It was a very difficult set of circumstances.”
While Kreza’s death hit close to home, firefighters are regularly faced with tough situations and having a dedicated chaplain is an important step in actively supporting their mental health and wellness, department officials said.
“We realized over the past decade that our department needed a chaplain,” said Fire Captain Kevin Reddy, who was instrumental in developing the program after being approached by Chief Stefano. “A firefighter’s job is stressful and they are presented with situations where they experience tragedies. We all handle it in a different way."