Volunteer firefighters help terminally-ill woman in unique baptism ceremony

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Firefighters know their job is dangerous.

They respond to calls knowing they may have to run into a burning building to save someone’s life, but saving souls is another story.

The Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department has served and protected the community since 1950.

But after members of the department recently helped on local woman get baptized, it is now protecting the afterlife, as well.

“We’ve received calls for cats in the trees, that’s a common one,” said Rogersville VFD Assistant Chief Morris Lentz. “We’ve received a call for possums in a culvert. We even got a call one day for some fish in the road, believe it or not. So we get calls for everything.”

But in his 30 years with the Rogersville VFD, Lentz has never received a call to help with a baptism.

Seventy-four-year-old Doris Chandler was recently diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.

With her health fading, she decided to invest the rest of her time with God and the Oliver Church of Christ.

“She just said, ‘well, whatever we’ve got to do, you know, if you can help me,’ and I said, ‘whatever I’ve got to do, I will do it,'” said Oliver Church of Christ Minister David O’Connell.

Because Chandler is wheelchair-bound, a member of the church offered his backyard pool for the ceremony.

O’Connell then contacted the fire department to develop a strategy.

“We thought about it for about two seconds and then thought, absolutely, we would be happy to help with that,” said Lentz.

With ten firefighters and 15 members of the church on hand, Chandler took the plunge.

“That means a lot, when you look there and they have something there to carry you out on if something happened, to think that they would think of you that much and care that much,” said Chandler.

“If it took twenty men, we would have had that, you know, whatever it would take,” said O’Connell.

With the help of the fire department, Chandler was saved, every way possible.

“Something just went through my soul and it’s still happy there,” said Chandler.

Chandler says that when she is feeling well, she attends church as much as she can.

She also makes sure to read from her bible every day.

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