The following post is from George C. Pickle, CBF Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Specialist.
From January 6th through January 12th, Jim Pope and I attended four national pastoral care organizations in Alexandria, Virginia. These organizations included the Association of Religious Endorsing Bodies, COMISS Network, the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, and the Endorsers Conference for Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy. We were privileged to have a CBF presence in each conference.
At the combined lunch for the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces and the Endorsers Conference for VA Chaplaincy, CBF-endorsed Chaplain Jeni Cook was the recipient of the Legion of Honor of the Four Chaplains Bronze Medallion Award because of her rise to the top as a National Leader of VA Chaplain Service.
The Four Chaplains gave their life jackets to men who did not have them when the Dorchester troop ship was sunk by a German submarine in the icy waters of Greenland shortly after midnight on February 3, 1943. The four chaplains included Methodist Chaplain George Lansing Fox, Rabbi Alex Goode, Dutch Reformed Chaplain Clark Poling, and Father John Washington. Dan Kurzman wrote that the chaplains moved quietly among the men on board. After they had encouraged the men, they linked arms in spiritual solidarity and prayed as they sank together into eternity.
Chaplain Jeni Cook is a most deserving recipient for membership into the Legion of Honor. She became the first female chaplain in the Department of Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy history to become the National Director of VA Chaplains. She was extremely active in initiating a network of female chaplains and has served as a mentor for female chaplains throughout the VA in a population that has been dominated historically by male chaplains. She has not limited herself only to female chaplains but has selflessly given herself to aid all chaplains in becoming the best that they could be. She presently serves as an Associate Director at the National VA Chaplain Center. In presenting the Four Chaplains Bronze Medallion Award, Chaplain Michael McCoy stated “I believe she would add honor to the roll of past awardees and is most deserving of membership in the Chaplain Legion of Honor.”
Through the years, I have been the privileged endorser of Chaplain Jeni Cook. I thoroughly affirm that Chaplain Cook is an appropriate honored recipient.
As I reflect about these meetings, I am grateful for the outstanding CBF chaplains and staff who had a significant presence in each conference.
George C. Pickle
Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Specialist
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