Hephner named Columbiana Police Auxiliary Chaplain
COLUMBIANA — Chief of Police Bill Myers appointed Kelli Hephner to the Columbiana Police Auxiliary during last week’s council.
Hephner will take the role of Auxiliary Chaplain. Her role plays an important part supporting mental health among Columbiana’s first responders.
Hephner’s role as an emergency medical technician, director of Heroes and Halos support group and working with special needs parents through ministry gives her the experience and confidence to pursue this new role.
“It’s who I am. It was just one of those things that God blessed me with, the ability to listen and sit with people during their difficult times,” she said.
Hephner takes additional courses whenever they are available. Courses include a recent class certifying her as a critical incident stress debriefer.
“I like to be able to help them to get through it and then I started taking more courses and classes to learn how to better do my job and just listening to stories from other officers and hearing the struggles,” she said.
Hephner believes the role of chaplain compliments her experiences and listening skills. She knows where to refer first responders when they need additional resources.
“Columbiana County has an amazing group that has been working alongside me that are working to get things together. We want to be there for our first responders,” she said.
Hephner works closely with Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery.
The need for officers and other first responders to feel heard and supported inspires Hephner to improve her skills.
“Just listening to responders talk about how they feel alone and how nobody cares about them, and people expect them to just show up during the worst moments of their life, but then people aren’t there for them,” Hephner said “That’s not how it should be. I want to eventually make it so they always know that there is somebody there.”