While her husband helps families deal with the grief of losing a loved one, Yvonne Losey lifts the spirits of patients and co-workers with her military boards and quilts. CAPTION: Yvonne Losey pins photos of hospital employees who served in the military as a way to thank them for their service.
Glendale Heights – Two large bulletin boards – one covered with photos of veterans done fighting and one covered with soldiers still in the thick of it – hang in a busy hallway of Adventist GlenOaks Hospital. The woman responsible for the boards, Yvonne Losey, is the director of the hospital’s birth center and she knows the military almost as well as she knows babies.
Her husband, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Garry Losey, is stationed at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware. A second-generation Seventh-day Adventist pastor with more than 30 years of ministry experience, he was selected by the Chief of Chaplains at the Pentagon as the Chaplain for the Army Liaison Team. Garry Losey provides the needed counseling and spiritual care for family members during the dignified transfer ceremony to departing Fallen Soldiers on the flight line. Before his deployment, he was manager of pastoral care at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.
While Yvonne Losey sees new life every day, her husband deals with the end of life, supporting the family members of the Fallen through the grieving process.
“It’s the best job I ever hated and the worst job I ever loved,” Garry Losey said.
The Loseys met 36 years ago at a California hospital where Yvonne was a nurse and Garry Losey a hospital chaplain. Today they have two grown children and two grandchildren. Garry Losey joined the Army in 1988 and the Reserves in 1999. During his first year in 2009, he helped 250 Army families based at Joint Base Balad in Northern Iraq, located about 40 miles north of Baghdad.
Meanwhile, back home in Illinois, Yvonne Losey has lost track of the number of people she’s helped. Besides her two military boards, which she hung the day her husband left for Iraq in 2009, she also led an effort to ship homemade cookies to members of the U.S. military serving overseas and sews beautiful quilts decorated with American flags. From time to time Garry Losey asked his wife to make a special quilt for a grieving family he meets, as was the case in January 2012.
“I pray this quilt will give you comfort,” Yvonne wrote in a letter to a woman who lost her husband, a sergeant in the army. “I know the days ahead are not easy.”
She never heard back, but to Yvonne Losey that’s not important. She provided comfort to a woman going through a terrible time. And in a small way, she knows exactly what it’s like to miss someone you love. She hasn’t seen her husband since January and says the military boards, tending to new moms and babies at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital and sewing the quilts are a way to fill the hours while he’s gone.
“I know Garry is doing God’s work and that it’s important,” she said. “He is helping people in a time of horrible loss and grief. They will never forget him.”
So until he returns, Yvonne Losey will continue to update the boards and wait for the big day in August when she can move her husband’s photo from the “active military” group to the “veterans” group. That’s when Garry Losey will retire from the Army and return home.
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.
Media contact: Sheila Galloro, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, firstname.lastname@example.org; 630-856-2359.