LEMONT — For the past eight years, Terri O'Neill-Borders has dedicated her time to helping Lemont residents in crisis through her Hope and Friendship Foundation.
Now, she's working with the village of Lemont to form a "Crisis Response Team," that is, a team of volunteers who will focus on the aftermath of a criminal or traumatic event — whether that be counseling or assisting police and fire officials or Lemont residents.
The team will collaborate with law enforcement and the community to meet the needs of recovery for victims, witnesses, neighborhoods and business in the aftermath of significant traumatic events.
"I just want to do more," O'Neill-Borders said. "This is about me pushing the strengths of others forward."
Goals for the crisis team have been listed as following: provide education regarding trauma reactions while normalizing and validating individual responses in the aftermath of crime or critical incident; help the community understand the law enforcement response, investigation procedures and the criminal justice process; build communication and understanding between the community and police agencies and help the community reconnect to maintain peace and a support system.
"It's an insurance policy we hope to never use," O'Neill-Borders said. "We want a team in place to respond not only to the immediate person in the conflict but to the ripple effect of the crisis."
O'Neill-Borders is working with Lemont Police Officer Bob Dahlberg and Lemont Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Ballard to create a formal Crisis Response Team.
"We felt it would be good for the village to have one," Dahlberg said. "We are taking it to the next level and bringing it to the community."
Ballard added that the group is looking for volunteers to help the effort. Volunteers must be 18 years or older and will be trained in emergency management.
"We are looking for people who are willing to put their emergency aside and respond to others needs," O'Neill-Borders said.
In preparation for being part of the Crisis Response Team, O'Neill-Borders has taken training courses through the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. Last week, she was awarded for her efforts in community crisis through the foundation.
O'Neill-Borders was awarded the "ICISF Spiritual Leadership Award", which is presented to an individual for their commitment to their community through the ministry of presence and compassion in crisis response.
"It was humbling," O'Neill-Borders said. "In this community it has been easy to motivate people to want to make a difference — that's what this award is saying. I lead people to make a difference on others. It's not just me, but people in the community."
Goals of the Crisis Response Team Provide education regarding trauma reactions while normalizing and validating individual responses in the aftermath of crime or critical incident.
Help the community understand the law enforcement response, investigation procedures and the criminal justice process.
Build communication and understanding between the community and police agencies.
Help the community reconnect to maintain peace and a support system.
Want to be part of the Crisis Response Team?
Contact Terri O'Neill-Borders at firstname.lastname@example.org.