The First Responders 1st Story

First Responders 1st was started in January of 2018 by Lonnie Clouse. Lonnie previously served for 17 years as a chaplain to the NASCAR community with Motor Racing Outreach.  As the 2017 season came to a close, MRO announced a significant downsizing due to lack of funding, causing his chaplaincy role to be eliminated.  Shocked and discouraged, Lonnie began to question his purpose and calling in ministry.

Lonnie stumbled on a book by Craig Groeschel entitled “Chazown” that had a huge impact on his life. In his book Groeschel encourages his readers to do something for a living that they have a passion for and would do for free.  That’s when the alarm bells went off in his mind.  He had been serving with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department as a volunteer chaplain for the past 2 years, and he loved being involved in the lives of these officers. After much prayer and counsel from trusted advisors, the Lord confirmed to Lonnie that he needed to start his own ministry (non-profit) for First Responders to provide emotional and support for those who are on the front lines serving and protecting our communities.

Lonnie then reached out to his local Chief of Police for the Concord, NC Police Department.  This department has nearly 200 officers with no functioning chaplaincy program.  The Chief sent out a survey to 100 officers, and 97 of them welcomed a chaplaincy presence within the department.  From there, other opportunities presented themselves within the Frist Responder community.  The need is great, but FR1 needs more sponsorship and a solid core group of volunteer chaplains to meet the needs of First Responders. The goal is to provide support for other First Responders also, not just exclusively law enforcement, as resources and manpower become available.

Lonnie is also a volunteer chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.  Recently he was deployed to Parkland, Florida to provide emotional and spiritual support for the community and First Responders that were impacted by the Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School shooting where 17 innocent lives were taken.

Thank you for your care and compassion for our First Responders.  Please take time to pray for them today.  These men and women deal with many traumatic events, and are in need of our support. Would you please consider how you can come alongside FR1?


Chaplain Lonnie Clouse


Meet Lonnie Clouse, chaplain

Lonnie's vision for First Responders 1st is to come along side of our First Responders who serve and protect.  We do so by establishing a trusting relationship and partnering with them so they will have confidence to approach the chaplain for support.

Lonnie has a Bachelors degree in Theology and a Masters in Religion.  He served for 17 years with MRO as a chaplain serving the NASCAR community.  In January of 2018, he founded and started full time with First Responders 1st.

Lonnie has been happily married for over 20 years and has 5 children.  Three of them are biological and 2 have been adopted from the state of NC.  He is actively involved in his non-denominational church in Harrisburg where he serves as an elder.

Lonnie enjoys riding his bicycle in his free time and also spending time with his family.  He participates in the annual Ride to DC. This is a four day bicycle ride from Charlotte NC to Washington DC held each May.  It is a 500 mile ride that raises funding and awareness for fallen officers families.

First Responders 1st is Growing!

Check this page often to see how God brings new volunteer chaplains into First Responders 1st. The need is great, and several chaplains will be needed to minister effectively. Consider a recurring donation to FR1. Every dollar will meet the needs of first responders who are serving communities across the Charlotte, North Carolina region