Church Helping with Tucson's 'Psychological Wounds'

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TUCSON, Ariz. - The community of Tucson is still in shock as many struggling emotionally to deal with the tragedy.

Crisis and stress management centers are being set-up around the city. Some of the counselors belong to a group sponsored by one local church whose members are trained to help in times of crisis.

A candlelight vigil was held Monday night at the Tucson medical center where Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was undergoing surgery to try and save her life. Most stood in reverent silence, and a few took it upon themselves to pray.

But some Christians in Tucson wanted to do more. The Pantano Christian Church has put together a team of volunteers who train all year long to be able to respond to tragedies like this, and more.

"The Pantano Disaster Action team's mission is to serve the citizens of southern Arizona in the preparedness for, response to and recovery from Disasters," Tom Taylor, the team's director, said.

"There's fifty-four people on the team and I have to say that not everybody on the team goes to this church," he explained. "We work hand in hand with the emergency management system - they look to us first and foremost to assist them in times of trouble."

City Councilman Steve Kozachik said the services provided by groups like the Disaster Action Team are an invaluable part of the city's response during a crisis.

"This is all an interconnected community, and community is the operative word, because you mentioned faith based, there are faith based, there are secular groups all coming together under the umbrella of this tragic event, and joining forces to take care of the victims in this thing," Kozachik said.

"There's a lot of psychological trauma that also comes with this, and so in addition to handling the gunshot wounds, they are starting to take care of the psychological wounds that go along with it - the post traumatic stress," he said.

Taylor said he believes this idea should spread across the country.

"Faith-based organizations have more to offer than they realize," he said. "Christians have a heart to serve and they want to help - they just need to have that system with which to do that. That's what we provide."

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Chuck Holton

Chuck Holton

CBN News Reporter

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