Photo: Sheriff Jeff Grey shakes hands with the five new volunteer chaplains.


Police work brings with it its own share of worries and sorrows. Officers might benefit from knowing a compassionate listener, someone who is willing and able to talk and pray them through a difficult time.

“We do our jobs better when we know we have support,” said Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey, as he prepared to swear in four priests and one religious brother who will serve as volunteer chaplains with the sheriff’s office.

“Thank you for your willingness to help,” he told the new “deputies” during a brief swearing-in ceremony at St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio, on Wednesday morning. “They teach us in police school not to show fear, but that doesn’t mean we don’t experience it. Even in Mercer County, we see things that most people don’t see, and it takes a toll on us.”

The five—Br. Nick Renner, C.PP.S.; Fr. Jim Dugal, C.PP.S.; Fr. Tom Hemm, C.PP.S.; Fr. Al Naseman, C.PP.S.; and Fr. Donald Gibbs, OSB, all of whom live at St. Charles—volunteered for the new role with the sheriff’s office. They’ll make themselves available to deputies and others on the sheriff’s staff who want to talk over any problems they might have.

“Help us be your instruments,” Br. Nick asked God during the opening prayer.

The volunteers signed up as a result of an outreach by Colleen Kammer, coordinator of peace, justice and ecology for the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

“We’ve been meeting with the sheriff to determine how the retired members at St. Charles can be of service to the community,” said Kammer. “At the sheriff’s request, our developing relationship will begin with a confidential spiritual support ministry for his staff, and we’ll see what grows from this experience. Our thanks and congratulations to the religious men who are willing to serve the Mercer County community in this way.”

Missionaries of the Precious Blood