Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw and Joey Hudson pose together with a First Responder Bible. Photo by Caleb Gilbert

Recently we were featured in the Upstate Today news.

WALHALLA — An organization dedicated to first responders donated “First Responder Bibles” to a local law enforcement agency. 

Joey Hudson, executive director of Gallagher’s Heroes, brought boxes of the Bibles to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office on Friday and presented them to Sheriff Mike Crenshaw.

Hudson said he works with The Mike Gallagher Show to raise money around the country to buy the Bibles, then ships them to any first responder who requests them. 

“For years we had done different things helping first responders, and we happened to be at a meeting of the National Bible Association and they did a military Bible,” Hudson shared. “It kind of gave us the idea to do a First Responder Bible.”

“We have had a lot of officers who said, ‘Thank you for the Bible — now what do I do with it?’ because they just had never been involved with Bible study or whatever,” Hudson said. 

The Bible includes a “Spiritual Fitness Manual” in the back with Bible studies written by chaplains across the country. These studies focus on things like fellowship, marriage and parenting, along with God’s word and how to avoid burnout from a first responder perspective.

Hudson said the organization plans to expand that curriculum.

“In theory, a group of firefighters or police officers, if they wanted to have a small group to study the Bible together, we can give them all the resources they need whether they’ve ever done a Bible study or not,” he said. “That’s sort of our next step.”

‘Helps us to cope’

Crenshaw accepted the Bibles on behalf of his office and said they will be available on a voluntary basis for any officer or deputy who wants to have one. 

“In today’s world, me personally, God and prayers (are) a daily part of my life,” he told The Journal. “But it just helps us to cope, helps us to be able to deal with life’s struggles, life’s journeys, problems. 

“To me, this is another tool on our tool belt that we can offer our employees from a wholeness standpoint,” he added. “Law enforcement is a wonderful profession — it’s not for everyone — but it can be a very stressful position.”

“Someone gets into this profession, they’re gung-ho and they want to help others, and then they deal with the worst of the worst every day,” he said. “We have to make sure our folks don’t get blinders on and start thinking, ‘Everybody’s like this. Everybody’s bad,’ when only 1 or 2 percent of our population is bad that we deal with on a regular basis, but the other 98 percent is good and supports law enforcement. 

“So, something like that, ‘avoiding burnout,’ we’ve seen that,” he said. “This hopefully will be a tool to help our folks just from spiritual fitness and positive mental attitude. I think that’ll be another good opportunity.”