NewsAnnouncements : Army Chaplain John “Frank” O’Grady retires after 24 years of service

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Army Chaplain John “Frank” O’Grady retires after 24 years of service


By A.J. Simmons

WRNMMC Command Communications

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Catholic Chaplain (Lt. Col.) John “Frank” O’Grady retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years of service during a ceremony Oct. 26 in WRNMMC’s historic Tower.
“[O’Grady] has been a tremendous blessing to the women and men of our national armed services for his entire career,” said Navy Capt. James Pittman, command chaplain at WRNMMC. “He has ministered to their families, [and] he has cared for civilian partners that have served side-by-side with us. He has lived out his calling as a priest and Army chaplain in our midst, so it is right that we honor him today.”
During his career as an Army chaplain, O’Grady provided pastoral care to thousands of patients, service members and civilians of numerous nations. He received an Army Commendation Medal after the 9/11 attacks for his dedication to service, as he spent five nights attending to survivors and the families of victims at the Pentagon.
This year, O’Grady was also selected as a finalist for the Lumen Christi, an award created by the Catholic Extension Society to recognize members of the church who use faith to make a difference in the lives of others and the world around them.
In his time at WRNMMC, O’Grady provided spiritual guidance and resiliency events for patients and staff, alike. These events, as O’Grady explained recently, are designed to help staff members or patients to discuss life concerns, conflicts and stress, among other issues.
“Father O’Grady brought our staff lunch and resiliency,” said Dr. Ed Lucci of WRNMMC’s Emergency Department at the chaplain’s retirement ceremony. “He showed us he cared about us. He brought us monthly messages of kindness. His message to us was a simple one: ups and downs are a part of life. The way to deal with it is one day at a time. Don’t be discouraged, be hopeful.” Lucci noted that O’Grady’s resiliency lunches helped to promote a positive outlook and relieve stress among Emergency Department staff.
After thanking those in attendance of his retirement ceremony, O’Grady explained that he plans to “take a little time off,” though he intends to stay in the area of the hospital.
He concluded his ceremony much the same as he led his career as a military chaplain, with spiritual guidance and care: “The things I think are important in life are [to] continue to take time to pray to your God—whatever God that is. Number two, continue to look out for your families and look out for each other. Number three, continue to work hard—what goes around, comes around. Lastly, always have a sense of humor.”