“Let the story in the bed dictate the scripture that’s read,” has always been Chaplain’s Britton Price’s motto. Except this time, the story in the bed is the story of the country’s deadliest mass shooting in a place of worship.
“It’s not what you expect on a Sunday morning," he said. "You wake up, you go to church, you don’t anticipate that happening."
For years, Price has helped the hopeless walk in faith through some of their toughest times. And this time, for the survivors of the tragedy in Sutherland Springs, it has been no different.
“I’ve seen gunshot victims before. I’ve dealt with the families before. It’s very tragic. There’s always the question of why, looking for comfort and something to be sure of in that time. And religious faith is the thing a lot of people will hold onto,” Price explained.
Eight victims were taken to Brooke Army Medical Center with severe trauma, some of them with multiple gunshot wounds. Two of them were just children.
“In sitting with them and listening to them, they know God is good,” Price recalled. “God will be with us in this. I didn’t have to give them that. They already had that."
Then there’s BAMC’s behavioral health team. They've also helped survivors in the hospital.
Dr. Elizabeth Jacobs, a clinical health psychologist, says the team pays close attention to trauma victims within their first month.
“You’re looking at the same kinds of symptoms that you see in post-traumatic stress disorders,” she said. “Things like re-experiencing symptoms, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts about the incident.”
Dr. Jacobs says that, at the same time, patients are also dealing with physical pain, like reactions to their medication or treatment. She says that making sure patients have a support system is key.
Chaplin Price is also there. He says that working with the survivors of this tragedy is something he will always carry with him:
"The bloodshed and loss, to be able to provide pastoral care to those that are hurting, it was an honor to be able to be there for them and help them in any way we could.”