Gift of Hospital Chaplaincy

My Dad died when I was 10-I  have few memories of him.

Back in the day- that is 1969- there were  few people  who talked about him to this 10 yr old, and certainly not about his work, etc.  He was a foreman in US Steel Gary works, and 42 was way too young.


Fast forward to 2014. I am making rounds at the hospital where I served as a Chaplain.  I stop to visit an elderly man in his 80’s- he’s frail and tired. In my mind  it looks to be a quick visit.
After I introduce myself he says “Siroky. Rip Siroky.” ( “Rip” was my Dad’s nickname. ) I stammer, yesssss Rip Siroky was my Father.
“So Rip Siroky’s daughter is a Chaplain… (pause).. Your Father was one of the fairest foreman I ever worked for. He died young.”
Yes, he did, I say. And I go back to my role of ministry to him., asking what I could do for him, prayer, etc. But God intervened.
” Your Dad. he was fair. and in those times, it was rare. I was a young man, and your Dad treated all of us the same. Black, white, didnt matter. He respected your work. But dont get him mad…. so Rip Siroky’s little girl is a Chaplain.”

Now this man would  have been in his teens when my Dad was his foreman. Yet he persisted…
and for the next 20 minutes or so, I sat, and he talked about my Dad– and how proud he was of us all, and the pictures we drew in his locker. And then he reminisced as a young man the mill was always busy and you felt connected and the men there felt proud. And he spoke of Gary and his fellow Millrats , and my Dad, With pride.
A grace moment. I hope this patient is enjoying his Father’s Day. he made mine.

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