It has been said with a great deal of credence, that “If you want to know who your friends are, get sick or down and out!”
Recently I discovered, not just from the experiences of others, mind you, but from my own personal experience, that the traffic lights of life, can change so quickly! While sometimes the traffic lights of life operate in a normal pattern going from green to caution, then to red. Yet, there are other times, when the traffic lights of life just go from “green” straight to “red,” skipping the caution position all together. Or at least one we did not see, or perhaps, just chose to ignore.
Be that as it may. On July 17, 2013, I found myself having a need to be rushed to the Lake Wales Medical Center, right here in Lake Wales. Being very ill from the side effect of a certain medication which most of us read on the side effects list of possibilities on all prescription drugs but never thinking any of those side effects mentioned, will ever happen to me. However rare, sometimes we learn just why the side effect warnings are there. Such was my case.
And as a result, I found myself spending seven days in the Lake Wales Hospital. But the second great thing that came out of that experience (being nursed back to health by wonderful doctors and their staff being the first) was that I learned who my friends are. And many who were not particularly classified as friends but rather just “people who cared about me and wished me well” because they knew of my community service and contribution.
So let me say a big “THANK YOU,” first to my wife, (Sandra) who practically moved in the room with me and supported me every step of the way; my precious children for their outpouring of love and support; my church family (First Institutional Missionary Baptist Church) for their visits and phone calls. And to my 15 siblings whom, though they are scattered across the Country from Florida to Georgia, Van Couver, Washington, Oregon, to Hawaii, yet most of them came to see me. Thanks siblings.
To the various pastors of the City such as: Pastor Scott Markley, Pastor Barry Hooten and wife; Pastor Walter Nelson, Pastor Jack Hilligos, Pastor Steve Livingston, Pastor Willie Kingcade, Pastor John Harris, Pastor Chad Reynolds, Pastor Sherol D. Larkin, Retired Pastor A. J. Steverson and “Sister Honey,” the hospital Chaplain Pastor Eric Grenier, Elder Ralph Roberts (President Lake Wales Ministers Alliance); the Pastors’ Prayer Group of Capernaum Ministry as well as the countless members of their Congregations for their visits and phone calls.
Also a very special “THANK YOU” to my great friends: Mr. Steve Sorenson, John W. Steedley, and to OUR City mayor, Eugene Fultz, and his wife, Janelle, for their visits.
And Oh, how I thank God for my wonderful primary doctor. Dr. James A. Nelson over the many years for not only his professional services that has been second to none, but also for his friendship, fellowship, prayers and support. And then what a great hospital and staff, our Lake Wales Medical Center has developed into. When I came to pastor in Lake Wales 21 years ago, I can remember the attitude towards the Lake Wales Hospital to be vastly difference from what it is today.
But today, I can truly say from “first hand experience” that we have a real “state of the art” Medical Center that we can all be proud of. I experienced doctors whose knowledge was not only through and professional but who also had very pleasing “bedside manners.”
Then there was the over whelming “tender loving care” that came from the hands and hearts of the PAs, the RNs, the CNAs, the dieticians, to the enthusiastic service of the housekeepers. What a great team! What a great staff! What a great Medical facility we have right here in Lake Wales! Kudos go to Mr. Scott Smith, executive director of Lake Wales Medical Center, for his innovative and inspiring leadership as well as the Board of Directors for their insightful creativity to work as a team to move the Lake Wales’ Medical Center a quantum leap forward.
Again, Lake Wales, let me thank you for your outpouring of love and support during my time of illness; and for those of you who would have responded had you only known but didn’t, please know that I know your heart and I thank you just the same! For yes, it is true – “If you want to know who your friends are, just get sick or down and out!” Thank God, I got a lot of friends.
Rev. J. J. Pierce, Sr.First Institutional Missionary Baptist Church – Lake Wales