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Chaplain brings life to workplace

Posted: January 30, 2009 7:52 p.m.
Updated: January 31, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Local pastor David Vernon, of Market Place Chaplains USA, visits local companies and provides spiritual support and a listening ear for employees and their families.

 
Employees of two Valencia companies look forward to Chaplain David Vernon's weekly visits for guidance, prayer and an open ear.

Vernon is with Marketplace Chaplains USA, a faith-based, national workplace-chaplain provider that partners with more than 400 companies.

"He's been there during times that I needed somebody to talk to," said David Yaeck of Canyon Country.

For about a year, Vernon provided his services to Atlas Broadband and Diligent Delivery Systems, and employees said they are experiencing more peace in their lives and workplace.

"He's been great for myself and my family," said Yaeck, an Atlas employee. "We've had a lot of discussions about where I am going in my walk of faith and he's helped me tremendously in understanding what my priorities are when it comes to my family."

Vernon, of Valencia, is an ordained minister, but his ministry call is not to be a church pastor but a chaplain, he said. As a workplace chaplain, he provides spiritual support to company employees and their families.

"It is our goal to provide care to America's workplace and show the love of God to each and every worker," said Wes Sullivan, Marketplace Chaplains USA division director. "Every worker has things going on at home that they bring to work with them and it affects their ability to work."

Chaplains can be a nonjudgmental ear to listen to those employees in their distress, Sullivan said.

Not long after Vernon contacted him to be a chaplain, he received phone calls from the local companies requesting a chaplain, Sullivan said.

After his first few weekly visits, Vernon said employees began to trust him and approach him with all kinds of problems and concerns.

"I check in with employees to find out how they are doing, what are the stresses in their lives and deal with any family issues that may be taking place outside of the workplace," Vernon said. "(My responsibilities) could also involve things (such) as helping an employee or family learn the basics of budgeting, life skills as it were."

Susan Vasquez, of Saugus, is Atlas' operations manager. As a Christian-based organization, the president's desire is to do what's best for their team members, Vasquez said.

"The team really enjoys having David come," she said. "We've definitely noticed a difference. I think it keeps work-stress levels down. If someone is having a bad day and it's a day he's here, they'll come out with a different attitude."

General manager of Diligent Delivery, Darlene Sharbonow, said all the company's U.S. offices have the option to have a chaplain service.

"At our office here, we're pretty much all Christian and those that aren't, don't have to participate," Sharbonow said. "But it's nice to pray for our customers and pray for the day. Before we moved, Pastor Dave came over and prayed in all the rooms. It's just a real nice service."

She also said Vernon's services have helped calm nerves in the midst of a troubling economy.
"We haven't really noticed any negativity," she said.

Diligent employee Billy McDade enjoys talking to Vernon and receiving Vernon's advice.

"Sometimes in the morning, especially on Mondays, I have to drag myself in and I might be going through something and I'm able to talk to him instead of holding on to it."

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