Delta, CO (October 20, 2020) – The Delta County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) Volunteer Chaplains held the first annual DCMH Chaplain’s St. Luke’s Chaplain Service Recognition Awards to honor Dr. Sara Knutson and Dr. Jennifer Craig for their outstanding work during the pandemic on Sunday evening at the hospital.
The DCMH Chaplains St. Luke’s Chaplain Service Recognition Awards are inspired by St. Luke, regarded as the author of the methodically detailed Biblical books of Luke and Acts and presumably educated as a physician. St. Luke is celebrated as the pinnacle of the Christian healing ministry. The award honors caregivers, nurses, physicians and hospital staff who go above and beyond in their care and in their work of healing the mind, body and spirit.
The ceremony started with a surprise celebration of Father Tom Seibert and his upcoming retirement. The group honored his years of service at DCMH and in the Grand Mesa Oncology and Infusion department. Seibert has been a volunteer chaplain at DCMH since moving to Delta in 2009, and he was a priest at the Episcopal Church in Delta and quickly acclimated to the community
“Your commitment to our hospital [and community] has been extraordinary, and you’ve laid a fantastic foundation for the type of ministerial group our chaplains have become,” said Matt Heyn, CEO for DCMH. “Thank you for all of your work here at the hospital and we hope that you have an amazing retirement.”
Seibert also served as president of the Delta Ministry Fellowship from 2010 to 2019 and assisted tremendously with the Delta correctional facility programs. He is a founding board member of the Abraham Connection Homeless Shelter in Delta and helped provide pastoral support and leadership.
“One of the things I remember being taught during my Clinical pastoral education is that you have to be present, you have to listen and you have to be aware of a patients’ thoughts and what they’re thinking and going through,” said Seibert. “I think that the men and women here [at DCMH] do their part to help others through that journey that sometimes looks very dark.”
Dr. Craig and Dr. Knutson were both honored with the St. Luke’s Chaplain Award for their commitment to the community’s health and safety during the pandemic.
Dr. Craig is a DCMH Emergency Department Physician and the Operational Director for the Disaster Response Team and has helped the hospital tremendously in making sure they were prepared for all potential situations during the pandemic.
“Dr. Craig [has an] amazing presence in the ED and as our county has entered into this unknown time, you’ve been this beautiful, gentle touch for people,” said Rosin. “It is with a great deal of pleasure that we give you this award.”
One thing that Dr. Craig says has always been solid since she started working in the ED back in 2002 is the support from the chaplains and other community members.
“I don’t think we get to say enough how appreciated you are in our ED,” said Dr. Craig. “We call you at all hours and you come in and are with people and their families – you give them support and for some people in our community they don’t have anyone except for you. It is such a value to have you here.”
Pastor James Conley presented Dr. Knutson with her award and thanked her for the work she has done during the pandemic. Dr. Knutson is a Pulmonologist at DCMH and Planning section Medical Director for the Hospital Incident Command Team and has helped to educate the hospital and community members.
“I am tremendously humbled by this award,” said Dr. Knutson. “There are so many individuals who have put excellent efforts towards preparing the hospital… As physicians we really can’t do what we do without support at all levels. From the chaplains and administration to the nursing staff and custodial and cafeteria support – it’s been everyone working together to pull this off. We continue to anticipate what’s coming and to do the best we can to serve the County.”
The volunteer chaplains hope to make the award ceremony an annual occurrence to recognize the hard work and dedication of hospital staff.
“This was an opportunity to honor our chaplains and hospital staff and to show appreciation for what they do for our patients, for our staff and for our families,” said Heyn. “Looking to the future we want the hospital chapel and ED to be a place where grieving and healing starts for families and we look forward to achieving that.”