On May 18, Guthrie Center police officers were honored during a law enforcement appreciation event organized by the Guthrie County Chaplains Association.

The lead organizer was Steven Goodenough, a chaplain for Guthrie County and pastor for the Guthrie Center Seventh-day Adventist Church. After attending a training where recognition ceremonies were mentioned, Goodenough knew he wanted to organize an event to show gratitude for local officers.

“We need to show appreciation for law enforcement, because it is kind of a thankless job,” Goodenough said.

The event was held during National Police Week and featured words of appreciation for the officers from representatives of Congresswoman Axne, Senator Grassley, Senator Ernest and Governor Reynolds. The chaplains also spoke and presented flowers to attending spouses and parents of officers.

The Guthrie County Chaplains Association includes seven chaplains who represent six denominations. Goodenough was asked to join the group about three years ago. At that time, all the chaplains in the Guthrie County Chaplains Association worshiped on Sunday. This meant if an officer needed a chaplain on Sunday, the chaplain would often have to leave their church service.

“Since I’m not busy on Sunday, the police force recruited me,” Goodenough said.

Goodenough says he frequently rides with officers to provide counsel to victims and their families. During these rides, officers often disclose difficulties they may be facing. Goodenough said he is happy to be a listening ear.

“What [the Guthrie County Chaplains Association] is trying to do is provide support. We are somebody that they can talk to — it’s confidential,” Goodenough said.

According to Goodenough, sometimes the duties of the Guthrie County Chaplains Association can be challenging. Goodenough said he is grateful for the support of his fellow Guthrie County chaplains and the Iowa-Missouri Conference pastors in his Ministry Zone (Mzone).

For several years, the pastors of the Iowa-Missouri Conference have been divided up into Mzones. The pastors in each zone get together once a month to share ideas, support each other and discuss collaborative initiatives.

“Mzones have been really helpful because it gives pastors the ability to talk with one another,” Goodenough said.

In addition to providing a listening ear, Goodenough said this has allowed the church to form better relationships with the community and even lead some individuals to Christ.

“It just gives us more of an exposure to the community and they get to see us who we are as Adventists, that we are willing to help,” Goodenough said.