What started as a prayer request to the hospital chaplain turned into a memorable, first-of-its-kind event at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights.
Chaplain Emma Jane Conley was recently on the floor talking to family members of patients who were scheduled for surgery. Tammy, the daughter of Dorothy Molina, one of the patients, asked Emma Jane to pray for her mother. The very next day, Tammy walked up to Emma Jane with another request.
“Tammy told me that she and her fiancé Paul had been planning their beach wedding for months,” said Chaplain Emma Jane. “It was scheduled to take place in a few weeks, but Dorothy would not be able to attend due to her illness and recovery. Other family members and friends from New Mexico and Florida had planned to attend the wedding, but detoured to Harker Heights to support Tammy and her mother.”
That led Tammy to ask the chaplain, “Could we just have the wedding here in the hospital?”
Emma Jane happily agreed and caregivers on the floor moved quickly to prepare the waiting room for the ceremony. Flowers that had been given to staff members to recognize National Administrative Professional's Day were instead given to the bride to use as her bouquet.
A few staff members took on the roles of wedding photographers and documented the event for the bride and groom. Other caregivers on the floor, even some students there for the day, took their seats to witness the beautiful moment.
Just before the ceremony began, nursing staff opened the doors of every patient’s room on the floor so that they could see the wedding procession and experience the family’s joy.
At the appointed time, the brothers of the bride escorted their mother down the hall in a wheelchair to the waiting room. The bride and groom then proceeded into the room, surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Chaplain Emma Jane performed the ceremony. In her remarks, Emma Jane said, "In all my many years as a hospital chaplain, I have never had the pleasure of officiating a wedding in a hospital. Given what we have experienced in these very same rooms during the last few years with COVID-19, today’s ceremony is a much-needed, uplifting experience for us all.”
Mandy Shaiffer, Chief Nursing Officer at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, conveyed the hospital’s best wishes to Tammy, Paul and the entire family, especially Dorothy. “We are very proud of our teams and how they all worked together to fulfill this unique request for this family. This is just one more example of how our caregivers will go above and beyond to connect to their purpose of caring for others,” said Shaiffer.