Reprinted from Waterbury Republican American, Nov. 14, 2018

WOODBURY – An ordained minister has joined the ranks of the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Department as the company’s staff chaplain who will bring spiritual support and guidance to emergency responders, department officials said.

Chief Janet Morgan issued the Rev. Jeff Grant his fire department ID this month, and said his role will be an important one.

“As firefighters we see a lot of things that can become burdensome, and it’s a real asset to have someone to talk with who can also provide spiritual support,” Morgan said.

Grant said just being present is an important contribution.

“I view the chaplaincy as a civic duty and giving back to the community,” he said. “The need to help those suffering pain or loss can include spiritual help and guidance.”

Grant, 62, moved to Woodbury from Greenwich a year ago in search a more bucolic lifestyle, he said, while continuing his full-time outreach work to prisoners and their families, as well as newly released convicts in the state.

All local ministers of every denomination are on call, Morgan said, but the department has never had its own staff chaplain until now. Grant will provide non-denominational guidance, counseling, and advice as needed.

He holds a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and also has a law degree. He is co-founder of Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc., and co-host of a criminal justice radio program. His wife Lynn Springer is a yoga instructor.