Chaska guided by faith-filled parks and rec director

| August 14, 2013 | 0 Comments
Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Tom Redman

How do you apply your faith and Catholic values at work?

It starts with a philosophy of building on the positive. It is easy to apply one’s faith and values in most workplaces in that faith and values are centered on helping others. I have been blessed to have been given a position that I have worked in for 38 years that allows me to practice in those many areas where people of all ages can benefit from everything from food shelves to hockey rinks.

Some examples:

Project Community Connect is a Carver County and Scott County joint effort where over 400 individuals come to one place to have their needs met. Services on this day include dental, legal, haircuts and housing, to name only a few. Our faith and values at the CCC led us in part to offer the building at no charge on Aug. 8 for this two-county event.

Another example where I apply my faith at work would be to consciously pursue those aspects that present themselves as Christian in nature such as our department’s involvement in creating the local food shelf. It is an example of community building, but it also is an example of not only professing your Christian beliefs, but actually putting that belief into practice to help others. Today we serve over 1,000 individuals in need each month.

We incorporated the spiritual aspect as one part of keeping our Active Older Adults population healthy and happy. The spiritual is complemented by the physical, social, emotional and vocational. We will oftentimes at work make the connection between the Chaska community values of integrity, generosity, respect, responsibility and human worth and dignity and those found in the Catholic faith, which are very similar. As a city staff, we are encouraged to follow the servant leadership management style.

Much of our success as a department is predicated on letting all of our staff know that they are an important part of what we do. If one can trust and delegate to others and find as much enjoyment in seeing their successes as your own, you have found the true value of servant leadership.

Please tell a story about a time when applying your faith at work really made a difference.

We had an artist show in our art gallery by Ashley Dull. In each one of her paintings, she will hide a verse from the Bible by name and number. The trick is to look at the painting long enough until you can find the inscription, such as Jeremiah 29:11.

At The Lodge [which serves the AOA population] since opening, we have had a number of our elderly friends pass away who have made donations back to the building. As we got together and talked as a staff, we thought it would be a good idea to purchase a painting from Ashley called “Future Path” and have her gently hide the names of our friends into the painting as a way of remembering and memorializing them.

As you can imagine, the family members that come to The Lodge to see the artwork are brought to tears knowing that the painting recognizes the passing of their family member as well as a Bible verse.

Who or what has been most inspirational to you in bringing your faith to the marketplace?

For me, it has a been a gradual growth in my belief and education since childhood. My Irish Catholic mother, who passed away, is an important part of who I am today. The point where I actually turned the corner and understood that there was more to being Catholic than going to church regularly and where my faith was given a nudge was probably meeting Father Paul Jarvis [former pastor of Guardian Angels]. I guess I finally understood what it meant to “live your faith” and to “not be afraid” from listening to him. As with everyone, I had heard it all before but never truly understood what it meant.

What achievement at work are you most proud of?

I have been blessed to work for a city and a department where you are allowed to be proactive and to do that which you feel will help make a better community.

I am very fortunate that I can get involved in many good things through my job. From a Christian standpoint, some of us talk about each program being a “drip in the spiritual bucket” and if there are enough good things happening, you overflow the bucket. The fun part is keeping the bucket full.

If I picked one thing I am most proud of at work, it would be the staff, which includes 19 full-time and over 200 part-time [employees]. The CCC would be a hollow shell if it weren’t for the full-time and part-time staff that works here every day.

The CCC stands as a model from both a programming and business standpoint. I am convinced that much of its success is based on a servant leadership model where you build from the bottom up, and that all staff are encouraged to feel good about their role and the trust that you put in them.

I am also proud of the AOAs for Christ that we formed as a Guardian Angels ministry. We meet quarterly in The Lodge and identify volunteer projects. The wonderful part of this is that we have 12 churches represented at the meetings and that everyone is willing to share their time and talent for the benefit of those who are in need.

In what specific ways have you experienced God’s presence in your workplace?

He is here every day! God’s presence is a part of all that we do here at the CCC. The constant interaction of preschoolers, teens, families and AOAs being kind and respecting each other is proof of God’s presence each and every day.

Some of us kiddingly call reminders “God Denozos,” which is the slight slap behind the head you see on the TV show “NCIS.” You just have to be willing and able to recognize God’s hand in all the good things that happen on a regular basis, both in our community center and elsewhere, in a typical day.

Tags: , ,

Category: Leading With Faith