Faith Based Security Network SOS 2022
We sponsored and attended the Faith Based Security Network (FBSN) Security Operations Summit (SOS) in Springfield, Missouri last week and we can honestly say, we’re glad we did! FBSN President Carl Chinn and the FBSN board did an excellent job recruiting guest speakers, gaining sponsors, and increasing membership! Although all 28 guest speakers were outstanding, we wanted to highlight a few.
If you’re in the church safety & security business, you likely know who each of these presenters are. Here are a few notes of what we considered highlights and lessons learned. We could list highlights for each of the 28 guest presenters, but we want you to attend the SOS in 2023 and experience the power and value of the FBSN firsthand!
Frank & Sherri Pomeroy
Pastor First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs
Frank and Sherri shared a powerful story of faith, overcoming a horrific evil act that resulted in unprecedented tragedy. On November 5, 2017, a 26-year-old male subject began firing an M-16 rifle at the front of the church from outside. He then made his way into the church, killing 26 congregants and wounding another 22. This was the deadliest shooting in a place of worship in the United States in modern history. Frank & Sherri, who are always in attendance, were called away on other business that weekend. While away, Frank received calls and text messages telling him what was happening at the church. Once they returned home, and to the church, they were faced with the presence of the national media while dealing with the heavy loss of friends and family.
At a time when many may have lost their faith, Frank & Sherri continued to pray. Their inner strength and faith help them navigate through 26 funerals, many hospital visits and rebuilding their church. A true testament to their faith. If you have an opportunity to meet them and hear their story, we assure you that it will move you closer to Christ.
Stephen “Steve” Willeford
“The Good Guy with a Gun”, Stopped the Sutherland Springs active shooter on 11/05/2017.
Steve was lying in bed late on a Sunday morning looking at messages on his phone when his daughter ran into the bedroom to tell him she heard gunshots coming from the church down the street. Steve confirmed the sound of gunfire, dialed the combination to his safe and responded barefoot to the active shooting with his AR rifle and 1 loaded magazine. With focus and determination to stop the active killing of congregants, Steve yelled, challenging the shooter from outside the church. The shooter dropped his rifle, transitioned to a handgun, and came out of the church, engaging Steve in a gunfight. Steve was able to successfully strike the shooter with 6 out of 6 rounds fired from his AR rifle. The shooter made it to his vehicle and drove away from the church. Steve did not stop there. He flagged down a gentleman nearby in a pickup truck and they pursued the shooter. After catching up to him, the shooter took his own life, ending the threatening attack.
Steve’s story is a great example of a good human standing up against evil. He has been a gun owner for his entire adult life, continuously training with his firearms. In fact, he is now a National Spokesman for Gun Owners of America (www.gunowners.org). Steve’s years of training and self-discipline helped him establish the skills and proper mindset to stop an active threat. This is a great reminder of why we should train on a regular basis. We never know when evil will rear its ugly head and threaten the flock we have committed to protect.
Safety & Security Team Leader at West Freeway Church of Christ that stopped an active shooter during a Sunday service on 12/29/2019.
We all watched the news and video flash across our TV screens and internet when a disguised 43-year-old male stood up in West Freeway Church, shooting the Deacon and a safety and security team member. Within 6 seconds, safety & security team leader Jack Wilson fired 1 shot, fatally wounding the suspect. Although Jack saved many lives that day, it was too late to save the lives of the 2 church members that selflessly faced this criminal who took their lives.
Jack’s story was a reminder of the importance of training and preparedness. His team trained regularly and when the gunman displayed a firearm, the team responded without hesitation. There was a valuable lesson learned as a result of this attack. Although team members observed suspicious concerning behaviors and positioned themselves well to defeat an active threat, they now realize they missed an opportunity to engage the suspect in conversation before he entered the sanctuary. This may have offered an opportunity to learn more about his intentions and behaviors. That engagement may have also forced action prior to the shooting inside the sanctuary. It's a reminder that we need to use all our tools in our toolbox and train regularly to address suspicious behaviors. The video of this incident has been viewed by millions of people. Even though this incident depicts a tragic loss of 2 church members Jack reminded us about the different ways people act under stress: fight, flight or freeze. This takeaway is critical for safety and security teams to learn what types of responses their team members may have during a high stress event.
Thank you for sharing Jack. You are a hero to all of those who sat helplessly in church that morning as they watched in horror while a gunman took the lives of two of their loved ones and then turned his gun on them.
Ed Mireles, FBI Ret. & Former Marine (Vietnam Veteran)
Ed Mireles tells an incredible story of survival. Ed was an FBI Agent in Miami FL on March 11, 1986 when he and his team were trailing 2 bank robbers, that were also highly trained military veterans. As the FBI looked for an opportunity to stop and detain the suspects. A pursuit of the vehicle ended with the suspect’s car crashing in a residential area. After the crash the suspects commenced in a fierce shootout between the suspects and 3 FBI Agents. Special Agents Jerry Dove and Ben Grogan bravely engaged the suspects, but unfortunately lost their lives during the gun battle. Ed was shot and wounded during the gun fight but knew that he still had fight in him. Ignoring his wounds and nearly losing consciousness, Ed continued to engage both suspects 1 handed with a shotgun. Once he was out of shotgun ammunition, he advanced on the suspects, killing them both at close range with his handgun.
This incident has been widely studied and used as an example of survival in Police Academy’s across the country. Ed’s message to all of us is, just because you have been shot does not mean that you are out of the fight. Stay in the fight and continue with everything you have. The human body is resilient and even when injured you still have fight left in you, for as long as you have a will to survive.
Lt Col Dave Grossman
“The Sheepdog of Sheepdogs”. International Scholar, author, soldier, and speaker.
Col. Grossman gave an excellent presentation and sit rep on the escalating violence in our communities and the criminal war waged against police officers. His perspective and supporting references were a real eye opener for everyone in attendance. He also spoke of the power of Love and Faith vs Evil. If you have not read Col Grossman’s books, we highly recommend the following publications to expand on your mindset as a safety & security team member; On Spiritual Combat, On killing, Assassination Generation, Warrior Mindset, Stop Teaching Our Kids To Kill and Bulletproof Marriage.
All 28 guest speakers were outstanding! We hope to see you at the SOS 2023 conference in Nashville TN!