WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — Support Officers Community Care of Whatcom County is comprised of a team of civilian volunteers who show up during the worst of times to provide compassion, support and guidance.
According to a press release from the organization, they are embarking on an awareness campaign to aid in locating financial support for their work.
Support Officers are specially trained civilian volunteers who are dispatched 24/7 by What-Comm 911 when there has been, or is likely to be, a fatality. They are a resource for families experiencing tragedy and trauma, and for the first responders who serve them.
Support Officers was created in 1982 by a local pastor and fire chief.
In their emergency response work, Support Officers create a support system around families, along with other support that ranges from counselor referrals to helping with funeral arrangements and funeral expenses if needed.
According to Executive Director Kendra Cristelli, “We have heard for many years that we are one of the best kept secrets in Whatcom County in terms of what we do for people and families, as well as first responders, who are impacted by tragedy.”
Funding has been an on-going challenge from its creation, according to Steve Swan, the chairperson of the board of directors of Support Officers. “In recognition of the important work done by Support Officers, we are blessed to receive funding from local police and fire departments, but it does not come close to meeting our daily operational needs,” Swan stated.
Cristelli said, “It is our goal to no longer be a secret to those who thankfully have not had to benefit from the work of Support Officers. Those who have received our services regularly acknowledge that the compassion, support and guidance Support Officers provide at a time they are numbed by loss is what gets them through the hardest times of their life.”
The public is asked to consider supporting the Support Officers organization and can do so by making an online donation.