By Barb Arland-Fye
Iowa Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System has selected Father Robert Striegel, a priest of the Davenport Diocese, as employee of the month for April 2014.
A surprised Fr. Striegel received the award March 18 at the Iowa City health facility in appreciation of his dedication to its veteran patients and to the mission of the VA health care system. Bishop Martin Amos attended the ceremony honoring Fr. Streigel, who serves as a part-time chaplain at the VA health facility and as priest moderator and sacramental minister at Ss. Joseph & Cabrini Parish, Richland.
Chief Chaplain Mark Hall and Staff Chaplain David E. Brown nominated Fr. Striegel for the award. They noted that “Chaplain Striegel brings hope and encouragement to each patient and their family members.” Working on a team with six other chaplains, Fr. Striegel “is consulted as a spiritual leader, on the most difficult patients. He is able to develop a rapport with patients when others are not able to establish one.”
The priest chaplain also ministers to the patient’s family members and to his fellow employees, his nominators said. “His extraordinary care is also reflected in the smiles that an observer notices when Chaplain Striegel walks into a room to visit a patient. He is always welcomed and has developed a unique and deeply emotional and spiritual connection with many of the in-patient veterans.”
Sandra Horsman, the health care system’s acting director, said in her letter of congratulations: “Because of your dedication and, teamwork, and positive attitude, you have won the admiration of coworkers and health care system staff.”
Bishop Amos observed that “in talking with those who supervised Father and those with whom he ministered, it was evident that he is very much admired. It was also very evident how much this ministry means to him.”
Fr. Striegel had no idea he was being recognized. “The chief of chaplains, Mark Hall, told me that I needed to sign some papers over at the head office. I walked in, and there was Bishop Amos, along with the acting director, and some other leadership. I was surprised, did not know what was taking place, and especially pleased that Bishop Amos would take the time to join me. Afterwards, we had a chance to show Bishop Amos our chapel and office setting.”
Fr. Striegel’s honor includes a good parking spot for the month, a lapel pin and certificate of appreciation. His photo will be prominently displayed in the facility during April.