Winter stays busy as CVMC chaplain
by Mark Ledbetter
The hospital chaplain brings God to patients and patients to God.

The chaplain is a “living reminder that God is with the patient while they’re in the hospital,” Chaplain Glenn Winter said.

Winter has served as hospital chaplain at Coosa Valley Medical Center since 1997.

He graduated in 1980 from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Not sure of God’s calling, Winter said he enrolled in Parkland Memorial Hospital’s (Dallas, Texas) chaplain internship to “buy time” to pray and seek God’s direction in ministry.

“After the first week I knew that (being a chaplain) was it, my calling,” Winter said.

He completed his residency and continued to live in Texas, serving as a chaplain in hospitals, with health providers and hospice.

Brother-in-law Keith Pugh, former pastor at First Baptist in Sylacauga, notified him of an opening at the Sylacauga hospital. Winter applied and was accepted.

Winter split his time between Coosa Valley Medical Center and Citizens Baptist Medical Center in Talladega until becoming full time with CVMC in 2004.

Winter provides one-on-one support for patients and their families, as well as support for staff members. He also serves as a liaison with local congregations and their pastors, and coordinates a volunteer chaplain staff.

Chaplaincy is part of health care. “The spirit interacts with the body,” Winter said.

“If a person’s relationship with God is right, patients tend to do better; but if they feel God hates them and is punishing them, that attitude works against them,” he said.

Emergencies involving children are especially difficult. “You never expect a child to have health issues and when you do, it is traumatic for all, including the family, the staff,” and Winter himself.

The drowning death of a 2-year-old was especially hard for Winter. “It was harder than anything I faced in Iraq,” he said.

Winter, a colonel in the Army Reserves, is attached to the 81st Support Command at Fort Jackson, S.C. He serves as a military chaplain.

Called to active duty in 2003, Winter served 18 months in Kuwait and Iraq. He also served full time stateside from 2007 until the spring of 2011.

He still serves as a military chaplain, which requires two to four weeks of annual training and weekend duty.

From January to August of each year, military chaplains facilitate “The Strong Bonds” program. Soldiers and their families attend weekend retreats designed to strengthen the soldier’s family relationships.

Winter met his wife, Vicki, in Tyler, Texas. They have been married 29 years.

Vicki Winter coped with her husband’s deployment to Iraq “better than I could have dreamed,” Winter said. “She’s a strong lady.”

The Winters have four children. Daughter Bethany and her husband, Alex Vaughn, have two children, son Sterling and daughter Elizabeth.

Two daughters, Hillary and Tori, are students at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Nashville, Tenn. Their son Jameson is a senior at Sylacauga High School.

Winter also finds time to work with SAFE and serves as an assistant Scout master for Troop 27.

He said his goal for the chaplain program is to sustain and build upon the good foundation already in place.

Winter also wants to work closer with local congregations and pastors.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at mledbetter@dailyhome.com.

© 2011