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Volunteer chaplain provides listening ear for Coquitlam RCMP
As the pastor at Riverside Community Church, Gord Demchuk is always looking for ways to connect with the wider community.
So when the position of voluntary chaplain for the Coquitlam RCMP became available, he jumped at the chance.
"It's one thing to call yourself a community church but how do you get plugged in to the community?" Demchuk asked. "We felt this was one of the ways we could get plugged in."
Demchuk's role as the detachment's chaplain means he's available for officers as a listening ear in the office, and even out on the road while officers are out on calls.
Since he started in September, Demchuk has been to traffic accidents, domestic disturbance calls and more.
"It's basically a support mechanism," he said. "I see them in their working environment, I encourage them. Sometimes it's talking about what they're doing and sometimes it's just getting to know who they are."
The confidential service is similar to what Demchuk does in his "day job" at Riverside (formerly Northside Church), with one big difference — there's no evangelizing. Demchuk is happy to talk about spiritual matters, if that's what officers and civilian staff are interested in, but his main role is simply to listen.
"Sometimes they ask about spiritual things, sometimes it's regarding difficult situations they have to go through," Demchuk said. "I'm a listening ear for them to talk about that."
So committed is Demchuk to offering the detachment his services that he has gone above and beyond the call of duty. The volunteer chaplain is asked to contribute about eight hours each month but Demchuk, who served as an auxiliary officer in the 1970s, is putting in that much every week.
"I found if I really wanted to make a difference and allow them to get to know me, I had to spend more time than just the eight hours a month," he said.
In his spare time, Demchuk is an avid cyclist, having conquered much of the Kettle Valley Railway in the Interior. He also serves as pastor for the Canadian Army Veterans Moro Unit motorcycle unit and is a scuba instructor.