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The following story appeared in the November issue of the “Reporter,” one of the official publications of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod headquartered in St. Louis, MO..

By Bruce Kueck

The Synod's Board for Human Care Ministries (BHCM) is hoping soon to expand an idea set forth by the Oklahoma District, which plans to send to each fire station in that state a Gospel-message-augmented version of  "Warriors of the Flames," a video tribute to firefighters that is now available commercially.

But, whereas the district will be sending out an estimated 890 copies of the expanded video, the BHCM is hoping to send out enough copies to reach each of the nation's approxi­mately 52,100 fire houses.

The BHCM already has contributions from donors totaling some $40,000, but still needs about $20,000 to finalize production on the Gospel-oriented "trailer" and , to cover mailing costs, said Rev. Matthew Harrison, BHCM execu­tive director.

The video is built around a song by the same name, "Warriors of the Flames," which was written by Rev. James Likens of  St. Louis. Likens is an LCMS pastor and a free-lance video producer.

Although the song was written in 2000 as a tribute to the 109 firefighters who died the previous year, it took on added meaning when 343 firemen lost their lives following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York.

"I've always had a very deep admiration for these guys," said Likens. "Jesus said, 'Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends' (John 15:13). A fireman will do it and not ask your name."

Likens adds that it is merely eerie coincidence that the opening line of the song pays tribute to firemen "From the borough of Manhattan," and that the fireman in the video-jacket cover photo has an "11' on his helmet.

Uncanny, too, is the fact that most people who hear the song probably assume it was written after Sept. 11.

Rev. Tim Dorsch, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, Fairmont, Okla., and a volunteer fireman, emergency medical technician and chaplain in that town, came up with the idea of sending it to other local firefighters.

But, after Dorsch talked to others about the idea, it soon morphed into a plan to distribute a Gospel -message augmented copy of the video throughout the state. That, in turn, has evolved to the point where BHCM now plans to distribute the video nationally.

In Oklahoma, the district plans to ask congregations located near fire stations to hand deliver tapes and CDs, if possible. Where

Film maker Craig Somers, Indianapolis, IN, films Pastor Tim Dorsch for the closing message to be added to the “Warriors of the Flames” outreach video.

there is no LCMS congregation, t a p es and CDs will be mailed. In the Enid circuit, Dorsch said eachfirefighter will receive a copy of the tape and CD.

"We have an opportunity for ministry and outreach
 to the firefighters in our communities, because the
events of Sept. 11 and beyond continue to have an emo­tional impact on them," said Dorsch.

"Although many of them are Christian, many more are not. Each one is now aware that disaster can happen and that they could lose their lives on any call."

Dorsch is featured in the videotape's trailer, saying, in part:

"Hello. I'm fireman Tim Dorsch of the Fairmont, Okla., Volunteer Fire Department. I am also Pastor Tim Dorsch of Zion Lutheran Church in Fairmont, Okla.

       "On behalf of your neighbors of The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, I bring you thanks and appreciation for your service and sacrifice to the communities you serve.

"I also want to share with you that whether the next call you go on is a false, alarm or a five alarm, you have a Warrior who travels with you. He says to you in the book of Isaiah, 'Fear not, for I have re­deemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.'

"And, He is with you, even if you don't return from that run. We all know the power of the beast and that firefighters can be victims of disasters. But, Jesus says to you, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.'...

"Your neighbors of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod want you to know that. We also want you to know that we are praying for you.... We thank you for what you do"

To hear the song, "Warriors of the Flames" go to www.warriorsoftheflames.com. Copies of the video offered for sale at that site do not carry the trailer featuring Dorsch. Once production of the trailer is complete, copies of the expanded video will be made available through an as-yet-undecided outlet for $14.95 each. Reporter will carry ordering information as soon as it becomes available. The expanded version will not be available through the current Web site, Likens said.

Prior to Dec. 1, one-half of the proceeds from sales of the commer­cial video and CD will go to help families of the firefighters who died in New York. After that date, one-half of the proceeds will go to local "Backstoppers”  organizations that assist police officers and fire fighters.

A portion of the proceeds from expanded video sales are to go to the BHCM for fire and police chaplaincy programs, according to Likens.

Back to “Warrior Happenings.”

© 2001, JDL Video Productions, St. Louis, MO.