On Thursday, the CHI Saint Joseph Berea Hospital prayed over first responders and provided them with lunch as part of their Year of Humankindness event.
Chaplain Leo Fain started the event at 11 a.m. by reading a prayer that connected their "sacred work" to God's healing. He reread the prayer as each group drove through.
After the chaplain prayed over the emergency workers, the hospital provided a boxed lunch including a sandwich, chips, a fruit cup, and various beverage options. The paramedics and EMTs left with a keychain with their patron saint, Saint Michael the Archangel, and a prayer card that asks for protection and guidance for them.
The director of operations, Sandra Rose, support volunteer Peter Haik, and several nurses helped pray and pass out boxed lunches.
After the group prayer, chaplain Fain asked the group to reflect on what the prayer meant to them. Fain thought about the emergency responders who saved his neighbor from a house fire when he was young.
"This emergency room saved my wife's life from a heart attack," Haik reflected.
The hospital served five crews and a shift supervisor by the event's end at 1 p.m.
This event is one of many events in the hospital's Year of Humankindness. "Humankindness is embedded in our call to serve at CHI Saint Joseph Health, so we are already in perfect alignment with the commitment to demonstrate kindness in every key aspect of service to our communities," Rose said.
To Rose, celebrating first responders was critical in this mission.
"While we do a good job celebrating major acts of charity, we often overlook the everyday humankindness that impacts so many people," she said.
This celebration is deeply embedded in the hospital's Catholic identity.
"In the Catholic tradition, we have patron saints, people who have gone before us to offer protection or guidance," Rose said. "As Catholic hospitals, we want to extend this blessing of encouragement and protection for our paramedics and EMTs as they bring patients to and from our hospital."
Chaplain Fain took his own way of looking at the hospital's "humankindness" mission.
"In a small way, it gives us a chance to give back," he said.
"It's a heart thing for me," chaplain Fain added.
Some of the events during the year of human kindness have been internal, including encouraging employees to perform random acts of kindness.
Other events will be more public. The hospital will be hosting a service on 9/11 geared toward all first responders and a backpack drive closer to August. According to Rose, the hospital will focus more on Madison County's Day of Hope as the event was canceled last year.
To learn more about CHI Saint Joseph Hospital's Year of Humankindness, go to https://www.chihealth.com/en/about-us/hello-humankindness.html.