SJP Volunteers Honored as American Flag Is Dedicated
St. Joseph of the Pines celebrated its volunteers on a lower note this year, but the recognition event came to a flag-waving close with the hoisting of the new American flag.
The flag and pole placed in the front of the Health Center on the Camp Easter Road campus, were donated by the Treasure Chest, a thrift shop operated by volunteers, from which all proceeds are used for skilled nursing home residents and Therapy Village patients.
A stake driven into the ground at its base holds a plaque that reads, "Dedicated by the Treasure Chest at the Health Center of St. Joseph of the Pines for all the dedicated volunteers who have gone before us."
"The flag ceremony was very touching," says Audrey Meehen, one of the volunteers.
The luncheon at Belle Meade of St. Joseph of the Pines in honor of the volunteers began with an invocation from the Rev. Carl Naylor, director of pastoral care and mission services, which preceded the lighting of the memorial candle by Sister Roseena of the order of St. Mark of St. Joseph.
Naylor gave a special presentation to the volunteers that included the viewing of the Sisters of Providence DVD. This order is St. Joseph of the Pines' sponsoring organization. Naylor encouraged the volunteers to see themselves as the sisters, bringing their compassion, healing nature and emotional strength as they continue in their volunteer roles.
He was joined by Ken Cormier, president and CEO of St. Joseph of the Pines, who thanked the volunteers for their passionate commitment to the residents and patients and to the organization. He identified the members of the board of directors present for the occasion and offered his gratitude for their service.
Immediately following the celebration, a crowd gathered in front of the Health Center of St. Joseph of the Pines, where Naylor, Cormier and Prentice Lipsey, vice president of operations, took part in the blessing and accepted the flag from Alice Gilbert, Treasure Chest volunteer.
Lipsey spoke about the appropriateness of the flag in memory of those who have gone before and expressed his appreciation to the St. Joseph volunteers.
"In asking God to bless something we are requesting that it may be put to some good use, and that our possession of it may remind us of God. In offering a flag to God, we are making use of symbolism and its usefulness is to remind us of what it means," said Naylor.
"Several weeks ago, we wanted toshow our sincerest sympathyfor what occurred in ourcommunity by flyingthe flagat half mast," Lipsey said. "However, thiswas not possible at the Health Center, because there was no such flag pole on site. Raising the flag is a symbol of being connected to the larger community, which is one of the items that affirms us as a health care ministry. In large part our ministry is about healing and hope, and raising the flag has helped renewthis strong feeling for us."
As Gilbert, holding the flag, and other Treasure Chest volunteers, stepped forward as it was presented to Cormier and Lipsey, Naylor prayed, "According to the faith we hold, we dedicate this flag, that it may be a sign of our duty to God and to each other, and in memory of those volunteers who have touched our residents and us in very profound and significant ways."
The flag was hoisted up the pole and gazed upon for a few moments. The pledge of allegiance ended its dedication.
Jeralie Andrews is the volunteer director at St. Joseph of the Pines.
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