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.”  pause.

“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…. (laughs)  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  this wonder soul reminisced about his days as  a young man the mills of Gary… overtime..  was always busy … 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. One I didn’t expect. 

Father’s Day, he gave me a gift.. and I  hope this patient is enjoying his Father’s Day. he made mine.

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