WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - When we met Wetumpka Police Department Desk Sgt. Ella Roberts she had just received a letter in the mail.
Part of it read, "But I have been praying for you."
It wasn't just any ordinary letter, though. It was a letter from her 1:1 prayer partner.
"We get so busy doing the things that we do, it's hard to pray for ourselves so normally someone is thinking for us. It was a big help," said Roberts.
Michael Templin has been with the Wetumpka Police Department 4 years.
He is another first responder who chose to be part of this volunteer program.
"When we first got our first card, we got a coin. It reminds me everyday of the armor I have to put on to protect and serve," said Templin.
John Gallups, Chaplain with the Wetumpka Police Department and training director for the river region chaplain service, says they decided to launch the program nearly two years ago.
"Law enforcement stress is tremendous. We don't think about it. Officers are willing to lay down their lives for total strangers," said Gallups.
First responders who sign up are paired with people in the community who volunteer.
The prayer partner is given 12 cards to send one thing; words of encouragement.
Already, they have more than 70 first responders in Elmore County and Montgomery County who are apart.
"It means a lot to the officers. It means a lot to them when they are at roll call and they open the card. I think it makes a huge difference," said Gallups.
Gallups said if you choose to sign up commitment is key. He said one of the biggest hurdles they face in this program is having people sign up and never sending cards or coins to their first responders.
The program is funded by the River Region Chaplain Service.