Chaplain looks to support families impacted by tragedy at the scene

Christopher Yokley is looking to turn an ambulance into a Chaplain Response Vehicle.
A local chaplain has the goal of providing compassion and care during events that can sometimes be the worst day of someone’s life.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 9:23 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A local chaplain has the goal of providing compassion and care during events that can sometimes be the worst day of someone’s life.

He’s looking to turn an ambulance into a Chaplain Response Vehicle.

“Serve the community, serve first responders, just serve people in need,” said Chaplain and founder of Compassion Air Christopher Yokley.

For nearly five years, Yokley has been helping people in need of care get a lift for treatment.

“A 4-year-old girl to Boston for testing for brain surgery. We took a little boy, an 8-year-old, to Chicago. They had cleft feet surgery to get his pins out,” he said. “We flew a grandmother from Cruse Bay, Oregon to Norfolk, Virginia because her granddaughter had been put on hospice.”

The founder of Compassion Air arranges non-emergency medical private flights for patients and their families to get them from one medical facility to another.

“The best thing I get out of it is when we took the boy to Chicago, he got up in the airplane and he said ‘oh my gosh, look at this,’ because he’s never been in an airplane. That was rewarding and plus knowing that when we get home, he is healthy, he is safe. He got there without having to do a 22-hour drive or something like that,” said Yokley.

The effort Yokley is working on launching now is focused on the ground to provide a way for chaplains or pastors can be there on the scene of critical emergencies to provide comfort to those in need. He said he started to think of this idea after hearing about a crash on Kellogg in May that left two dead.

“The reason why I’ve really started doing this is when we had that big accident on Kellogg, and the girl was there comforting the guy that passed away. She got hit, and she didn’t have anyone there to be comforted.” Yokley said, “With an ambulance, we can be a blocker, plus we can be there to comfort the whole family, not necessarily the victim. We can start right at the point of the trauma instead of waiting till it happens later on in life.”

Yokley said he’s reached out to other local chaplains and a church.

Right now, he’s working on getting a vehicle, an ambulance that can be retrofitted into a Chaplain Community Response Vehicle that can go out to crashes, fires or other serious incidents.

The ambulance, he said, provides a safe place where family members or loved ones can talk with a chaplain.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t go to church, don’t know how to get ahold of anybody, don’t know how to approach a church,” said Yokley. “Being someplace they can just unload, be able to get it off their mind, start the healing process, and we want to be that place for them. We want to be there on the scene, to help the families out, be there whether it’s on the highway, at a fire or whatever.”

Yokley said he’d started the conversations with local officials about his idea.

Yokley iscollecting donations for this effort. People can reach out for more information by visiting Compassion Air.

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