Dr. David Hale, shown right, has long been
associated with the Special Olympics effort and has Corsicana's annual
event named in his honor. DAILY SUN file photo
By JOAN SHERROUSE/Daily Sun Staff
Dr. David Hale is no stranger to hospitals.
He made it through college working in hospitals. He has
endured five surgeries since being diagnosed with cancer in 1986, and as the
pastor of Northside Baptist Church for 30 years, he ministered to hospitalized
Now he coordinates the 12-member chaplaincy program at
Navarro Regional Hospital, but his professional life began in a hospital's
business office, not in the chapel.
A self-described introvert, Hale's first career choice
"Being an accountant, you get in the corner and
you deal with books all the time, but being in the ministry is just the
opposite," he said. "When you do what you're supposed to be doing,
though, you can do whatever you need to do."
After graduating from high school, Hale spent a couple
of years in business college then joined the military. His spiritual calling
came during the first six months of a four-year tour of duty in the financial
office at Lackland Air Force Base.
"I didn't decide on the ministry, I just felt like
that's what God wanted me to do," he said. "I got active in my church
and one thing led to another."
Now, he divides his time between the chaplain's office
and the Navarro College campus where he teaches the History of Christianity, but
whatever his physical location, he sees his job as a ministry.
"Whenever you can touch the life of someone else,
you have to consider the people you're touching," he said. "You just
need to love them and encourage them."
While most people struggle with the question of what to
say and do in times of crisis, Hale deals with the effects of trauma and
suffering on a daily basis.
"You have to be ready for anything and realize you
don't have all the answers," he said.
The question of why God lets bad things happen has
plagued great minds since the time of Job, but Hale said there is no easy
"What you have to do is trust in the infinite
mercy and wisdom of God," he said. "I've seen God make something good
out of crisis -- it happens all the time."
Sometimes, finding the purpose rather than questioning
the motive brings a sense of comfort and meaning.
"It might be that you're flat on your back in
order that you can look up," he said. "Another thing is, wherever God
places you, it's an opportunity to share your faith.
"Anybody can have faith when things go smoothly,
but when it's put to the test, we find out what we're made of and what we really
A dozen area clergymen representing a variety of faiths
take turns being on call and carrying a pager for one week a quarter, but Hale
responds during the day when he is available.
The hospital's spiritual program has been active for
about 18 months, and Hale praised hospital CEO Nancy Byrnes and others for their
"It tells me the hospital is interested in
ministering to the whole person," he said. "I've notice since I've
been here that people are very responsive-- the hospital is responsive and the
patients are responsive."
After retiring from Northside, Hale had moments when he
wondered what the future would hold, but he continues to find fulfillment in
helping people and families one-on-one.
"If you're called into the ministry, this helps
you to fulfill that call," he said.
Joan Sherrouse may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com
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