In February 2008, a lone gunman fired shots in a crowded auditorium at Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb, Illinois and changed countless lives forever. I was 400 miles away at my house in Ohio when it happened, but it was an event that changed my life forever.
I am an NIU alumni. I watched the news coverage both on television and the internet about the shootings, the aftermath, and the recovery efforts and process. While watching, I found out about a faith-based group of people and their dogs who were on campus helping the students, staff, and community cope with the situation. Without hesitation, I knew I wanted to be a part of this group!
Soon after, I contacted Chaplain Ralph to find out how I could get involved. We had several wonderful conversations and the wheels were set in motion for me to be a part of this wonderful team of people and dogs. I knew then, as I know now, I had found the ministry of my heart.
We have done many things for Extra Mile Ministries K9 Chaplain/Comfort Dogs Crisis Response Team since that first contact. I have worked on various publications, including their newsletter and maintaining the Facebook group (K9 Comfort), and we were blessed to be able to return to NIU with the team in February 2009 for the anniversary of the shootings.
This week we are preparing for a response in our own "backyard" at the National Parents of Murdered Children Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is exciting to be working together again and a little stressful as I wonder what it will be like. This is something I have never done and I don't know what to expect. What I do know is this is my calling and that Daisy and I are up to the task. God will figure out the rest! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers this weekend!
(for more information about this group go to www.faceofcrisis.org)