Chaplain’s Corner, September 2012

A Grace-filled Time for Thanks

I still remember vividly how much a surprise it was to me back in July of 1999 – the sudden onset of angina. Walking is still my favorite form of exercise and I have always done it regularly. So when a simple walk back from the library (about 1.5 mi.) was rendered difficult and uncomfortable by chest pains and a dull, persistent ache in the arms, I thought it was just indigestion. It was not. The same symptoms continued about once a day for about a week, though not every day, and subsided quickly once I sat down for a rest. I went to a cardiologist on July 7th, my wife’s birthday! The Doctor told me very simply, “You need to get to a hospital… yesterday.” So I went!

The angioplasty procedure of July 8th installed two stents, stainless steel mesh supports for the Left Anterior Descending artery (the famous “Widow-Maker”). The stents restored the shape of the vessel and the normal flow of blood. It is nothing short of astonishing to me that so brief a procedure could so quickly reverse a potentially dangerous (deadly) situation. Through the trained hand of a doctor, God continues still to touch the sick and heal them…. as the scriptures make so plain. I was then… and still am very thankful. It was such a coincidence that, when I was 15 years old back in 1959, my 14 year old brother drowned accidentally on July 8th – the same day that, some fifty years later – my death would be put off a while by the grace of one of God’s servant’s medical expertise – a doctor – and it could have been just as miraculously and wondrously a police officer or an EMT or a firefighter or a 911 operator – whom God might have sent to give me an assist. That stent has worked nicely now for more than a dozen years. I am so very thankful.

And then, the profusion of cheery cards arrived at home where I rested about a week. And there was a huge basket of delicious fruit that the whole family helped empty. The greeting card wished me a quick recovery and best wishes from the people at the church I served. I was touched. How marvelous to have greetings from so many friends and restored health…. so suddenly!

What has surprised me most is how little fear there was to this whirlwind episode that so quickly took me from normal life to a hospital cardiac unit…. within hours. As if by grace (and not due to any great faith that I was ever aware of) I felt nothing but confidence in God’s abundant blessings. I was very surprised that no inkling of dread or terror ever came to mind. I felt literally above all that and have begun to wonder if that’s what it’s going to be like some day when I get to the end of my life! Even the comfort of confidence seems to be given us as a grace, not something we have to work at whatever. How marvelous! How beyond words!

Such is my season of great thanksgiving as I come out of a lovely summer – and have a couple of months to wait before the “official” Thanksgiving Day comes to us in November of 2012. Even now – in September – I thank God for life and family, friends (people like the members of Long Island Shields), food and drink, hope and memories, everything. Look around a bit….. I’ll bet you’re thankful right along with me…. For the same reasons!

Chaplain James Anderson


President’s Message, September 2012

To say that I was totally surprised at our June meeting has to be the understatement of the year. It seems that The Shields Board of Officers, various police organizations, and friends chose this meeting to honor me for my years of service to our organization and other police affiliated organizations. I can only Thank those who agreed to attend this evening knowing that I was being honored. When I realized what was happening, I thought someone was privy to a medical report that I didn’t know about. Words cannot adequately express my thanks to all those who attended and chose to present me with awards and kind words. Believe me I didn’t serve for the accolades and recognition. There are many who deserve this recognition more than I, but no one who appreciates it more. Thank You for this honor, but most of all Thanks for your friendship.

As we start the 2nd half of the year I want to personally congratulate 2nd V/P Mike Villa, on his recent retirement from the NYPD.

Best wishes to Financial Secretary Joe Wolff, as he starts a one year teaching assignment in Tajikistan.

Congratulations to our recent scholarship winners, and the great job by Mike Villa in running the scholarship program. It gave us great pleasure, presenting our first grandparents awards in honor of Joe Klun and Matthew Walsh.

Our recent boat ride wasn’t the success we thought it would be, as many individuals let the morning showers discourage them from attending. Thanks to those who did attend.

In keeping with the election year theme, our guest speaker at the September 27th meeting will be Stephen Labate, a Conservative Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in the Congressional District 3 on Long Island.

I hope we see you on the 27th, don’t forget to vote November 6th, Election Day. Our country needs your vote.