Clearwater's Volunteer Ministers -
Providing a Helping Hand
Scientology Volunteer Ministers — some of whom were among the Clearwater contingent who traveled to New York in September 2001 to help at the site of the World Trade Center — are now also certified as Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) graduates, thus of even more benefit to their communities.
Today there are hundreds of active Scientology Volunteer Ministers
in Clearwater and more than 15,000 around the world.
For the hundreds who gathered at Harborview Center this past September 11, it was a time to remember those who lost their lives, and honor those who had served under the most trying conditions: policemen, firefighters, rescue workers and relief organizations and volunteers.
Among those being honored at the center were 10 New York City firefighters to represent all those who had sacrificed their lives at Ground Zero in the line of duty.
As they looked out into the audience during the memorial ceremony, the New York firefighters suddenly caught sight of several familiar faces. There among the crowd, they saw members of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers who, one year earlier, had traveled from Clearwater to Manhattan to help where help was most needed.
The firefighters and volunteers greeted each another as comrades with handshakes and embraces, followed by a more somber reflection of their time together, working shoulder to shoulder amid the rubble and smoke of the World Trade Center collapse.
More than 80 Clearwater residents were among the 800 Volunteer Ministers who arrived at Ground Zero in the days following the disaster of 9/11. While most volunteers came from New York and surrounding states and Canada, some — like those from Florida — came from locations throughout the U.S. Working around the clock for weeks, they helped to provide the firefighters, police and rescue workers with food, clothing and their own unique methods of spiritual assistance to relieve the shock and horror of the task.
New York Police Chief Joseph Esposito would later describe their efforts this way: "The organization, the caring and the dedication of your Volunteer Ministers were exceptional, and very much appreciated, and will long be remembered by those who received their help. I cannot thank the Volunteer Ministers enough."
Reestablishing Spiritual Values
there are hundreds of active Volunteer Ministers in Clearwater and more than 15,000 around the world. They form a network of volunteers who, in addition to helping family, friends and neighbors in the course of day-to-day living, work together with police, fire and relief agencies during times of natural or man-made disasters, large or small.
Volunteer Ministers are skilled in simple, practical procedures that get results. One of the most fundamental and widely used of these tools are the "assists," techniques that can alleviate emotional upsets, stress, trauma, illness and injuries. Not a substitute for medical treatment, they address the spiritual aspects of these conditions, enabling a person to recover more rapidly.
In times of emergency, the ability to give an assist can make the difference between a tragic and a happy ending.
Late one Friday night in summer 2002, three Volunteer Ministers came upon a man lying unconscious on a roadside in a residential area of Clearwater. He had been hit by a car, and the woman who struck him stood by in shock, crying hysterically.
While one of the Volunteer Ministers called for an ambulance and the police, the other two began to deliver an assist to the unconscious man. By the time the police and ambulance arrived several minutes later, the man had regained consciousness and was on his feet. The woman driver had also been given an assist, and was out of shock and no longer hysterical.
"While the accident parties in this instance were very thankful for the help, the Volunteer Ministers were just as thankful for the fact they could help, that they knew what to do," said Sarah Gorgone, who directs the activities of the Volunteer Ministers in Clearwater. "Volunteer Ministers have the skills to provide aid to anyone under almost any conditions."