November 16, 2011
On the afternoon of October 24, friends and family members of Father Mel
Richardson gathered in Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital’s chapel to re-dedicate the chapel to his memory. Father Mel passed away this summer.
“Father Mel” began the chaplaincy service at NVRH, in 1989. “He touched the lives of each and every patient during his time here with us. He is fondly remembered by staff and community members alike,” remembered Paul Bengtson, NVRH CEO. “He was a great baseball fan, supporting the Boston Red Sox every season.”
Father Mel’s wife Mary, her daughter Devon, son Tod, and daughter-in-law Danielle attended the dedication. Stated Mary, “Mel and I looked forward to your cards and emails during his illness. The hospital means so much to us, and this dedication of the Chapel in his memory is very special and meaningful to us all.”
The chapel has been re-dedicated as The Chapel of the Four Chaplains, in appreciation of the chaplains who served on the USAT Dorchester, a WWII transport ship. Several people who knew Father Mel well recalled that he considered these four WWII chaplains as role models, his personal heroes. On February 3, 1943, these chaplains were ministering aboard the ship when it went down and their sacrifice became known as a national symbol of selfless service and unity.
The Chapel of the Four Chaplains is a non-denominational space for patients, visitors, and staff, for prayer and meditation, located on the main floor at NVRH.
Hilary De Carlo