Our History

   

SEMSAR was originally conceptualized as a ministry way back in 1986. The founder, Charles Ray Jones, was attending LeTourneau Christian University in Longview, TX. He was majoring in Emergency Medical Sciences, and LeTourneau was offering one of the first degrees in EMS in the country. The university was unique in that it also operated the ambulance service for the City of Longview, and Ray was employed there while attending college. LeTourneau is a missionary university, and many of the students that Ray worked with were the children of missionaries. One common theme that all of the missionary students often discussed, were the various dangers they and their parents had encountered while trying to bring the Gospel to different lands. Having just ended a tour of service with the military, Ray also encountered many veterans on campus, and a common theme among the veterans was modern Christianity's view on personal security. Ray decided to start a student organization that melded both medical and security, with the idea of creating specialists that could assist missions teams with medical aid and personal security, sort of a "special forces" medic for Christians. The organization was created as a benevolent entity called "Sigma Lamda Chi" which stood for "Samaritans Loving Christ." The organization was short lived, as LeTourneau decided to "discontinue" the EMS degree program Just as Ray was preparing for his senior year, and all the members of SLC were dispersed to other colleges throughout the United States. Ray wound up back on active duty in the military, with the promise that the U.S. Navy would pay for medical school. (They didn't) Stationed in Kansas of all places, Ray continued his association with civilian EMS, and continued in ministry, founding Sovereign Rain Ministries, and "Warriors for Christ" ministries along the way. Sovereign Rain Ministries was essentially a deliverance ministry, and Warriors for Christ was a Christian based youth martial arts program. In 1994, Ray attempted to form a search and rescue team called EMSAR (Emergency Medical Search and Rescue) with several Christian friends from the military, with the chief problem encountered there of civilian vs. military EMS. A military medic may be trained to do appendectomies and basic surgery, but the moment he or she steps off military property, look out. Needless to say, lack of appropriate civilian credentials kept EMSAR stagnant. In 1997, Ray was approached by a group of students and other professionals he had been teaching, and was asked to join Midwest Search and Rescue, which had recently been changed to SOAR (Special Operations and Rescue.) Ray met with the group, and discovered they were all Christians. Ray was still trying to get EMSAR off the ground, but agreed to join forces as long as the organization became Christian in name as well as deed, and SEMSAR was thus created. The organization was originally created with a democratic leadership structure, and two people have served as the SEMSAR president prior to Ray taking elected leadership in 2002. As with any volunteer organization, SEMSAR has had a rough time moving forward, as well as being accepted by governmental entities. Our faith basis has had many doors shut in our faces, and our efforts were also hampered by the existence of another organization called EMARS (Emergency Medical and Response Services) EMARS had a good concept, but tended to respond to emergency scenes without due authorization or requests for assistance, hampering legitimate response services engaged in rescue operations. (a practice which tends to greatly irritate lawful authority) The name similarity between SEMSAR and EMARS caused some confusion, and resulted in SEMSAR not being recognized in some areas, with public officials thinking we were the "other" organization. As a result, in recent years, SEMSAR has been more focused on missions to third-world countries, rather than on the community oriented philosophy on we were founded. The tragic events of 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, as well as several others, have turned the tide, and SEMSAR now has legitimate mutual aid contracts with several area governments. Medical direction as well as a staff of qualified and certified professionals has created a sphere of acceptance for our mission, as well as our values.

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