During the past several weeks, our country has mourned the loss of George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. Many prominent leaders have expressed their respect for former President Bush as they reflected on his more than 70 years of public service as a Naval aviator, ambassador to the United Nations, head of the CIA, senator, vice president, and as our nation’s highest elected leader.
His family members and political colleagues often mentioned that the former president felt a deep and noble call to public and community service – a call which was the foundation of both his career and his life. As he once stated, “There could be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others.”
I am very privileged to have known another man who has been a great servant leader. When I was growing up in Memphis, my pediatrician, Dr. Geshke, personified a life of service. As I got older and became interested in the field of medicine, I had opportunities to spend time with Dr. Geshke, observing him in action in his profession. I was inspired by the way he treated every person he met with dignity and respect, regardless of the person’s age, job title or station in life. Because of Dr. Geshke’s devotion to serving others, I began my career thinking I might also be a medical practitioner. I later determined that I had different gifts and could serve others more effectively as an administrative leader in health care.
Throughout my career I have noted that many people enter the health care field because they feel a strong call to serve others. At Covenant Health, we are blessed to have employees in all aspects of healthcare delivery – from caring for patients at the bedside to developing information technology systems – who continually dedicate their professional careers and their individual skills and talents to serving others. I am grateful for everything they do for our patients and families, our health system, and our local communities.
George H.W. Bush frequently spoke about voluntary organizations working alongside one another to improve the quality of life in local communities. In one speech he called them “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” This Christmas season, we think of a particular star that led the way to the birth of One who healed the sick, fed the hungry, and lifted the hearts of those who were suffering – and calls us to do the same.
As we work together to build healthy and thriving communities, may we all find our deepest joy in serving one another. From all of us at Covenant Health, have a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.