I was just thinking of the special friend who officiated when John and I were married. His name was Richard (Dick) McCool.
Chaplain McCool was an inspiration! He’d broken his neck as a teenager and as a result was a quadriplegic.
After his accident, he continued his education, and eventually became a minister. At St. Mary’s Medical Center (where I also worked), he was a protestant chaplain and it was a role he filled perfectly. I got to know Dick when I was facing major brain surgery in 1981. He was totally supportive and always had time to talk though my fears.
I watched him struggle with his disability, but he never felt sorry for himself. He used his own situation to show that life could continue to be great, no matter what difficulties you face.
John and I enjoyed a special friendship with him. When we wanted to get married in 1985, we asked him to perform the service. (He always said we were one of his “few” true successes.) Our wedding was even more special with him officiating over our ceremony.
Here’s an example of Dick’s philosophy: He tried to be totally independent. He used a van with a lift to drive himself back and forth to work. One cold winter evening, when I was leaving work (well after dark), I found him in the hospital parking lot on his back. His chair had somehow rolled backward as it was lifting him into his van and it had tipped him backward. He was a good sized guy and there was no way I could get him up-right. He was laying on his back so I shoved my purse under his head to keep it from laying on the cold cement as I hurried to get help. His comment to me, as I ran off to summon security was, “Don’t hurry. I don’t get to see things from this perspective often.”
People like Dick McCool deserve to be remembered. So I ask you to remember this remarkable man. He died in 1997 at the age of 59.