Victim Relief Ministries is a faith-based organization that utilizes volunteers to partner with law enforcement agencies, victim service organizations and homeland security to deliver appropriate physical, emotional, and spiritual support to victims of crime, disaster and terrorism.
For the past 10 years, Edward Smith has served as the organization's president. He began as a volunteer, but has made it his life's mission to see that the ministry gets backs to the original roots for which it was founded.
“In the past 10 years I have been a volunteer or on staff with this ministry,” Smith said. “In the beginning, I responded using my own training, uniform and expenses because I felt I was called to help the one in the ditch.”
He said his very first deployment was when the space shuttle crashed.
“Now that I'm heading it, and my vision is to go back to the original mission,” he said. “We were called for the crime victim. Many of us are cross-trained, but we are called to come along side law enforcement to assist that vetted victim. This is not someone who comes up to us and says that they've been robbed or pic pocketed. They have a police report in the system and the police are handing them over to us in trust and partnership.”
He said the mission of this organization was really laid down more than 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ walked upon the Earth.
“This ministry is now 15 years old,” Smith said. “It was born in 1999 based on the parable of the Good Samaritan.”
He said most people don't realized that the parable was used by Jesus to answer the question, “who is my neighbor and how do I love my neighbor?”
“It's very interesting that he would use a crime victim to show how we are supposed to love those around us,” he said. “I love to look around the room at the faces of law enforcement officers when I'm doing seminars and trainings. When they realize that this story was a mass disaster, but no mass response was given by two responders. We always say that it was unfortunate that the first two responders were representative of the church.”
Smith said that it was the lowliest of the low that not only stopped to help but was prepared to help.
“Jesus laid out what we call the incident command more than 2,000 years ago,” he said. “And it's amazing to watch emergency management teams realize that Jesus was talking about them. He was talking about any first responder who comes with compassion to those in need.”
He said the need is great and they are looking for local churches and pastors to come along side them in their efforts to reach those who are in need.
“The local church and victim relief believes in the lay model,” Smith said. “The pastors or overwhelmed, but they can give their covering and we draw those churches into becoming what we call a neighbor's keeper.”
If there are pastors or individuals wanting to know more about this ministry, they are encouraged to call 972-234-3999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.