In her first appointment as pastor at the Salvation Army Corps in Derry, N.H., Katie Mayes, wears many hats. From a janitor to youth group and children’s leader to a preacher and fire department chaplain, Katie is always ready to answer the call to provide spiritual and social aid to the community.
Nothing could have prepared Katie for her first call as chaplain. Her phone buzzed at 2 a.m., requesting chaplain services in the aftermath of a suicide. Katie called the dispatching agency for more information and learned that the parents had found their son dead and wanted support.
“I remember hanging up the phone and just staring at the wall and thinking, ‘Am I really about to respond to someone who had committed suicide? What am I supposed to say and do?’” Katie said.
Katie didn’t know, but soon realized her comforting presence, a hug and a listening ear were all that was needed. After the incident, Katie stayed in touch with that family for about a year.
“This is my first church and my first community,” Katie said. “It didn’t hold me back. Instead, it felt like because I was so afraid that God just gave me more and more and more.”
Three years later, Katie still responds when chaplain services are requested or when the firefighters request a rehab truck with coffee, water and snacks at an extended scene.
Katie not only works to meet the social needs within the community, but also provide for the spiritual needs. Once a week, kids from the community gather for homework help, devotions and games.
“I love the kids ministries because somebody has to be speaking positive things into their lives,” she said. “Sometimes, it’s just believing that they can graduate high school.”