History of (AECC)
Adirondack Emergency Community Chaplains
The concept for Adirondack Emergency Community Chaplains (AECC) was birthed in 2005 when I met John Farrell, Civil Defense Director for the Warren County Office of Natural Disaster and Civil Defense (which is now incorporated into Warren County Office of Emergency Services). At that time I was the Executive Director of The Open Door Mission and had offered our food resources to John in the event of an emergency. John’s response to me one of was thankfulness for the offer, but he stated that he would rather have me network and coordinate the faith community in such a way that they would be able to assist with their office as needed. This network of information could also be provided to the New York State Office of Emergency Management (NYS OEM).
It was also in 2005 that I had received an invitation for clergy to come to a special meeting by Warren County DA, Kate Hogan, requesting the help of faith community leaders in addressing the problems of Drugs, Alcohol, and Violence (domestic and gang) that were problematic in our communities. DA Hogan shared some of the challenges she faced and offered us practical suggestions as to how we could participate in helping to meet these challenges - this process developed into our AECC “Civic Engagement” component. (Civic Engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference.)
It was from these humble beginnings that Adirondack Emergency Community Chaplains (AECC) was born. Today AECC community chaplains provide specialized pastoral care in the event of a disaster, including support and spiritual resources to disaster readiness teams and their families (as well as to other related department members or agencies), to the community in general, and especially to those immediately affected by the disaster. AECC currently functions in partnership with The American Red Cross, Saratoga-Adirondack and North County Chapters and Salvation Army’s Disaster Services in the Empire State.
AECC has been establishing a relationship with the Long Term Care Council Members and NY Connects groups comprising the majority of networked helping agencies in the 12 Adirondack Counties. The role of AECC can be that of helping to facilitate communication and networking between the faith communities and those groups/organizations/agencies which will promote the quality of life in our communities.
The geographic area of responsibilities for the Adirondack Emergency Community Chaplains (AECC) include the following counties in New York: Hamilton, Essex, Clinton, Franklin, Fulton, Herkimer, St. Lawrence, Warren, Lewis, Oneida, Saratoga, and Washington,
AECC is coordinated and overseen by Rev. Bruce D. Hersey, Coordinating Chaplain.
Here is a photo of the presenters at one of our community awareness forums:
(L to R) Rev. Bruce Hersey, NYDOC chaplain and Coordinating Chaplain for AECC;
Rev. Joseph Manerowski, Priest of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Glens Falls;
Imam Abdulkadir Elmi of the Masjid As-Salam in Albany;
Dr. William "Bill" Davidson, Pastor of Church of The King in Queensbury;
Rabbi Yaakov Kellman, Executive Director of Jewish Educational Resources of New York in Albany