St. Marys Fire Department welcomes new chaplain

Contact Us

The St. Marys Fire Department welcomes its newest member of the volunteer department. On September 1, 2022, Pastoral Chaplain Jeff F. Sager accepted the position of Fire Department Chaplain, which is a voluntary position that will provide for a full range of fire department personnel needs.  

The Fire Department Chaplain is responsible for tending to the spiritual and moral well-being of service members and their families. The chaplain's duties include, but are not limited to performing religious services, conducting training and providing confidential counseling.

“Jeff is no stranger to members of the fire department,” said Fire Chief Richard “Andy” Anderson. “Many of them worked with Jeff over several years while he was a Commander/Acting Deputy Chief with Perth County Paramedic Services for over forty years.”

For Jeff Sager, it’s the sense of being involved within the community and service that compelled him into the role as a Lay Pastoral Minister-Chaplain. “There are times when you speak, times when you’re silent, times when you can help them steer if they’re open to that,” said Sager. “It's most important to be a person who can listen and understand where they're at in their pain or lost in their struggles.”

Jeff has extensive training with Peer Support, Debriefing Teams, Mental Health Awareness that will certainly enhance the department. In his short time with the fire department he has already found a psychologist to work with him and the volunteer firefighters.

First responders are faced with difficult situations on almost a daily basis as they view accidents, injuries and other tragedies. Constantly being in the presence of these sometimes horrific circumstances can take a toll on one’s mental health and lead to difficulties outside of their duties, such as at home or at work.

“The fire service is becoming more aware of the need for mental health and peer support. Having a Fire Department Chaplain is a wonderful way we can support our team", Anderson said. “I think it’s going to be invaluable to have Jeff in this position, spending time in the fire hall, talking to our members and growing that relationship.”

“When death hits a member of the emergency responder community, proper support is vital,” said Deputy Fire Chief Brent Dundas. “It’s an inherently dangerous place to work and you’re always thinking, 'that could be me’. You train hard so it isn’t you, but unfortunately things can still happen.” Dundas said.

“I felt that we had a really good support system in place to address the mental health of our members through debriefings after emergency calls, our EAP program has counselors we can speak with and we have a peer support system with neighbouring fire departments,” Dundas said. “Introducing the chaplain to provide spiritual and other support for our department was the final missing piece of the puzzle.”

Questions about the St. Marys Fire Department can be directed to or 519-284-1752.


Richard “Andy” Anderson | Director of Emergency Services/Fire Chief
519-274-3939 |

Pastoral Chaplain Jeff F. Sager