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Helping Hand
by Aaron Retherford
Mar 14, 2013 | 1865 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne -- Dr. Jay Jeffers moved to Sparks about 15 years ago. Southern California's loss has been the local community's gain as he has immersed himself in giving back.
Tribune photo by John Byrne -- Dr. Jay Jeffers moved to Sparks about 15 years ago. Southern California's loss has been the local community's gain as he has immersed himself in giving back.
When northern Nevada lured Dr. Jay Jeffers away from Southern California, the Rail City picked up a true helping hand.

Jeffers, a Sparks resident for the past 15 years, hasn’t regretted the move one bit.

“It’s great. I’m originally from Southern California and I would never go back,” Jeffers said. “I tell people if you move to Nevada from a different state, specifically from California, you either hate it or you’re going to love it.”

Jeffers was asked to open up a family counseling center in connection with a medical center that was a multi-purpose clinic. One of the physicians he knew pretty well invited him up to join the group. But he’s done so much more since his arrival.

Currently, he is the senior chaplain for the Sparks Police Department, the state advisor of Disaster Mental Health Services for the American Red Cross and heads a small organization he created called the Passage to Victory, which deals with post-abortion issues. Jeffers counsels women and families who have gone through an abortion.

As a police chaplain, Jeffers is able to go on ride-alongs and when there is a death and the family requests a chaplain, Jeffers can talk to those people and provide grief support.

He is also a licensed minister at the Sparks Nazarene Church and is very involved with his church.

Jeffers’ entire life revolves around helping people.

Jeffers originally went to college as a pre-med student, but changed his career path when a professor told him there was a greater need for doctors in the mental health field.

“I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that people can be helped,” Jeffers said. “There are a lot of broken people in this world and particularly right here in Sparks and Reno. Just the satisfaction of knowing that they’re getting the kind of help they need.”

Even his family life has involved giving back.

Jeffers and his wife have been foster parents for 35 years and have taken in 45-50 kids. Jeffers has two foster children right now and an adoptive son who just entered the military.

“Doing it for as long as we have, it’s just the satisfaction of knowing these kids are getting the help they need,” Jeffers said. “My wife and I, we take in children that others don’t want. By that I mean ones who are medically challenged, the ones who have disabilities. When people do foster parenting, they want normal kids. Kids in foster care, none of them are normal, otherwise they wouldn’t be in foster care. They have a lot of traumatic issues, abuse, abandonment.”

Jeffers also has two biological children, who are well into their adult lives. His 50-year-old son lives in Nashville and is the tour manager for Journey.

Jeffers also likes to travel when he gets the chance. But he just started up a new venture, which allows him to help people while traveling around the United States.

Jeffers travels around the country putting on “connection” workshops. The workshops are for military personnel who are returning from overseas and dealing with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries. It’s for the soldiers as well as their families in hopes of discussing and dealing with the trauma. Jeffers said he travels three or four times a month for the workshops.
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