Even if you’ve never met Floyd’s chaplains, Jason Jordan, Chris Barbieri and Greg Cater, if you’re an employee, visitor, patient or vendor of Floyd, you’ve been touched by their work.
When Jason first joined Floyd as Director of Pastoral Services, he reached out to departments to let employees know that he was an available and a ready resource. At the end of each meeting, he made it a point to offer words of encouragement, prayers of gratitude and a blessing of the work each department contributed to Floyd’s mission.
When Rome’s faith community wanted to show their support for patients and health care workers, Floyd’s chaplains were there, greeting and providing direction to the hundreds of people who drove to our parking lots to pray.
When COVID-19 patients were separated from their families, the chaplains were there entering the zones where these highly contagious patients received care to pray for, encourage and check on patients and staff, then communicating back to and ministering to their separated families.
As the pandemic continued and caregivers grew weary, Jason, Chris and Greg donned their masks and visited caregivers, distributing candy and encouragement. Those small infusions of chocolate continue now, bringing opportunities for momentary respite from often arduous days.
When 2020 drew to a close and the new year approached, the chaplains were there, organizing a Longest Night observation. This opportunity for Floyd employees to acknowledge the losses of the year, spend a few minutes in quiet meditation and return to work with a new sense of hope proved to be profoundly touching and healing.
When the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to halt the hope for an end to the isolation, extra care and anxiety that had permeated the previous nine months, Floyd’s chaplains where there. The chaplains organized a community card campaign that netted more than 3,400 cards from churches, students and community groups. They prayed over the cards and worked with Volunteer Services, Wellness, and Workforce Development to distribute them to employees throughout the organization.
When Nurses Week 2021 came with pandemic precautions still in place, Floyd’s chaplains were there, recording a virtual Blessing of Hands video and rounding at nurses’ stations to anoint the hands of these tireless caregivers, using a cotton swab for safety, and then praying over them and their work. These efforts to sustain a time-honored Floyd tradition brought comfort and acknowledgement to these health care heroes.
And, when Floyd prepared to unveil its new entrance for expectant mothers and a new and expanded waiting room for their families, the Pastoral Services team was there. Prior to delivering a prayer of dedication at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the entrance, Chris walked through the waiting room, touching every chair and table, praying for the families and staff who soon would be using the new facilities.
In addition to these many thoughtful interactions, Floyd’s chaplains also have been available in times of extreme tragedy and loss.
When Tom was being treated for a blood cancer about a year after his wife died and while his mother was in intensive care, Floyd’s chaplains were there to provide comfort and support as Tom learned that his son, who also had been battling cancer, had died.
When a critically ill Barry was hospitalized and his daughter died suddenly, the chaplains were there to work with Barry’s care team and family to deliver the news carefully and safely.
When Floyd’s assistant director of Volunteer Services died suddenly, Floyd’s chaplains were there. Chris helped plan a memorial service that could accommodate a family whose religious beliefs ranged from agnostic to intense devotion. They have continued to minister to the Volunteer Services staff and to Dee Calcari’s grieving husband.
And, when Emergency Care Center (ECC) Clinical Manager Taryn Gurley lost her husband, Kevin, in a tragic drowning accident last year, Greg, Chris and Jason were there. Greg answered questions, helped Taryn plan the funeral service and encouraged her to “lean in” to her grief. Chris met with ECC staff members to help them to know what to say and how to support Taryn when she returned to work. And when the ever-mindful Jason saw that a scholarship fund has been established in Kevin’s name, Jason framed the article and placed it in his office – a simple gesture that, to Taryn, spoke volumes about the depth of compassion these men have.
In all these moments Floyd’s chaplains were there, providing comfort, understanding, counsel, encouragement and compassion. With so much exposure to sickness, death, dying and tragic losses in their daily work, Taryn and the Volunteer Services staff had expected Floyd’s chaplains to care from a distance or from a singular viewpoint of faith. Instead, when they and those in their care needed answers, guidance and unqualified acceptance, Floyd’s chaplains were right there.