Bringing Light in the Darkest Hours

by Byron Putnam, BCM NOPD Chaplain

“There has been a building collapse downtown!” said the police dispatcher.

Moments later my supervisor called. “People are injured. Our officer’s fiancé is in the building. Can you make your way to the scene?” I was on a ride-along with an NOPD officer and told her we were already on our way.

When we arrived, the collapsed Hard Rock Hotel loomed over the street. Police officers were marking off the area with yellow tape as a crowd of people started to gather. As I entered the secure area, I approached the officer whose fiancé was still in the building.


In between sobs, she told me she spoke to him right before it happened. They were planning to have lunch together that day. Immediately, I provided her a ministry of presence. I moved in close to listen while giving her space to grieve. I made sure she felt she wasn’t alone.

Family members of the injured continued to arrive. When all of the family members were settled, we held each other’s hands and prayed. I prayed for our officer, her fiancé, their family, and all those who were injured that day.

A few days later, upon hearing the news that her fiancé did not survive, I visited the officer and her family. I offered a ministry of presence, a safety net of grace when life falls apart. Our officer and her family grieved, but expressed a deep faith and hope in their loss.

Concern and compassion are evident in the simple act of nearness. Your support will allow chaplains to aid those deeply affected by crisis and trauma. To donate to BCM click here.