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Freedom Magazine, published by the Church of Scientology

Effective Response to Community Needs
by Stefan Keeney

A network of Scientology volunteers in Los Angeles area are training in a special Fire Department program to provide effective help in times of emergency

Throughout Los Angeles, more than 100 Volunteer Ministers from Churches of Scientology have enrolled on emergency response training, adding to the trained resources the fire department can call upon to help in disasters and in large emergencies.

Injured people lay strewn around the grounds of a collapsed school building; a fire burned in a coffee house once teeming with life. The grim scenario was neither a movie set nor a real disaster, but an adeptly portrayed example of the devastation that might result from a major earthquake in Los Angeles, presented by the Los Angeles Fire Department and volunteers from the city.

Into the “disaster scene” were called volunteers seeking certification to complete their Community Emergency Response Training (CERT); among them were more than a dozen members of local Churches of Scientology in Burbank and Glendale.

The volunteers descended on the site, organized themselves and broke into teams. They applied first aid to the injured, extinguished the fire, and returned a semblance of order. All volunteers earned their CERT certification, adding to the trained resources the Fire Department can call upon in communities to help in disasters and in large emergencies.

Throughout Los Angeles, more than 100 Volunteer Ministers from Churches of Scientology have enrolled on CERT since September 11, 2001.

“It’s one of the best ways we could see to increase security for our communities and the city as a whole,” said Cat Tebar of the Church of Scientology Western United States, the Los Angeles based administration for churches in California and 23 more states.

Further volunteers were signed up at the recent “Something Can be Done About It” Street Festival held in Los Angeles by Churches of Scientology in partnership with the Hollywood Wilshire YMCA, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater LA, and more.

Response in Day-to-Day Living

Scientology Volunteer Ministers are active throughout all of Southern California, responding like they do elsewhere around the world on a one-on-one basis to everyday emergencies — from child study problems to strained relationships and sickness.

They are individuals like Jenny Listug of Rancho Sante Fe, who among her long list of contributions since completing her training as a Volunteer Minister at the start of the year, most vividly recalls the morning in January she was driving on the 405 freeway and saw a car turned upside-down on the shoulder.

In the past, she would have felt that familiar twinge of horror and sadness over another’s ill fate, not to mention a share of helplessness in not being able to do much other than dial 911. This time, however, was different. Listug immediately pulled over. Police had just arrived and an ambulance had been called. One of the two victims was pinned beneath part of the wreckage, the other had been thrown and lay several feet beyond. Thankfully, both were alive, and both were conscious though disoriented and in pain. Listug immediately applied skills she learned as a Volunteer Minister, helping to orient them to their circumstances, and being a calm and confident presence until the ambulance arrived.

Afterwards, Listug recalled, it occurred to her that she did not even think twice about taking responsibility, jumping into the scene, and assuming control — because she had known what to do. Moreover, she knew that she had done something effective and had really helped the accident victims.

Listug recounts many examples on her ever-growing list of effective deeds, among them bringing order to the scene of a fire (from contacting the fire department to calming and directing neighbors), helping a waitress reconcile with her boss, helping a former Olympic gymnast recover from an injury, and the list goes on — dozens upon dozens of examples of helping people in their day-to-day lives.

"I was taught to ‘help thy neighbor’ from the time I was very young,” said Listug, who grew up in a church-going family. “I know a lot of people who have really big hearts, but outside of kind gestures in day-to-day life, a lot of times they really don’t know what to do to help. I used to be like that, too. You wonder if you’ve done enough, if there isn’t something else you can do.”

Since becoming a Scientology Volunteer Minister, Listug says, “I don’t wonder now. I have no doubt what to do.”

Unique Skills

The Volunteer Ministers are renowned internationally for fast and effective response to natural and man-made disasters. They have brought order and helped victims and relief and rescue operations from Papua New Guinea, The Congo and Greece to Mexico City and Manhattan at the sites of floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, wars, bombings and terrorist strikes.

While they are proficient in many aspects of relief, they are trained in unique procedures, including “assists” developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to alleviate shock, trauma, and physical and emotional pain. Used in conjunction with medical treatment wherever required, assists address the spiritual aspects of such conditions and enable a person to recover far more readily. The techniques of assists can be learned by anyone.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers are trained in a range of other skills, from helping another improve his study, to helping another organize and accomplish more in his life.

For more information on the Scientology Volunteer Ministers, contact (323) 953-3357.

For more information on CERT, contact the LA Fire Department at (818) 756-9674.

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