It's been several hours since over 30 police chaplains from across Canada gathered on Zoom to listen to Eugene Dufour, a man who has counselled trauma victims for over 43 years. I continue to receive emails from some of these chaplains expressing how impacted they were today by Eugene's presentation. I believe that most in attendance, including myself, wiped away tears more than once while listening to Eugene's compassionate voice as he provided example after example of traumatic circumstances and how he navigated them to bring comfort and resolution to the survivors and care for the First Responders. I was moved by the incredible humility Eugene projected and his ability to preserve the dignity of each person illustrated through his examples. This is a man who highly values human life despite being in the midst of the aftermaths of some of North America's worst mass murder scenes. He was boots on the ground at 911 where he counselled the handlers of cadaver dogs tour after tour. He was boots on the ground providing care and counselling for the First Responders and family members of the multiple victim slayings in Nova Scotia in 2020. The list of trauma care examples seems endless but what Eugene offered to us as police chaplains today was not war stories. He offered illustrations of actual events and how these events were handled by someone entrusted to care for trauma victims and the First Responders.
Today was a presentation full of gold nuggets to equip chaplains with practical suggestions when facing a myriad of situations. Woven intricately throughout his presentation were illustrations of selfcare initiatives that Eugene has applied and found to be powerful antidotes in dealing with his exposure to various levels of trauma. Images of artwork brought visual representation to the verbal illustrations. Eugene's interpretation of the painting below illustrates a chaplain wearing a protective hardhat while engaged in a chess match with suffering. Note the confidence and calmness depicted through the posture of the chaplain as he selects his next move knowing he will eventually be victorious over suffering. There is no panic; there is the application of strategy that directs his hand to the final takeaway location on the board; the chaplain is about to overcome the opponent of suffering.
With gratitude, we express our appreciation to Eugene Dufour for depositing over two and a half hours of practical illustrations and solutions into the minds and hearts of police chaplains across Canada. Eugene graciously provided us with his lengthy power point presentation which I have emailed to each chaplain who registered for this webinar. It will serve as a means to continue to unpack the vast knowledge Eugene shared that has been refined through 43 years of personal experiences operating in the field of trauma. I hope that Eugene will be one of our presenters at our CPCA ATS in BC in 2025; I would appreciate hearing more from this wonderful teacher.
Thank you to all the police chaplains who registered for this event and were able to join us. Without your hunger for knowledge and your desire to serve First Responders with excellence, the CPCA would cease to serve a purpose. We exist to connect, train and equip police chaplains, and I feel confident that Eugene Dufour surpassed all our expectations today through his presentation of "Walking With Suffering - When Your Colleagues Are Hurting."
BPS Chaplain/Constable Bruce Ewanyshyn
ICPC Director of Region 1