Passing the torch after two decades of kindness

Caboolture chaplains Aileen Johnson, Gemma Hockey and Audrey Choo-Butler.

Caboolture chaplains Aileen Johnson, Gemma Hockey and Audrey Choo-Butler.

Caboolture Hospital volunteer chaplain Gemma Hocking will hang up the cloth after 21 years of providing support and comfort to patients, families and the community.

For Gemma, being a chaplain at Caboolture Hospital has always been about ‘doing her bit’ for the community.

“For me it’s never been not what you get out of it because you are part of a community, part of a team,” Gemma said.

“It is part of what you do for your community, it’s important that people know you care.”

As part of her role, Gemma has spent countless hours supporting, comforting and listening to families and patients either at the hospital or on the telephone as part of a 24 hour on-call chaplaincy service.

“One evening I was leaving the Emergency Department and I said good night to an ambulance officer who I didn’t know by name,” she said.

“He replied back, ‘I know you, I was here with my mother in law when she was sick … you were there!’ These three simple words highlight why all of the chaplains are here.”

While Gemma is moving onto the next chapter in her life, there will be five volunteer chaplains at Caboolture Hospital continuing the wonderful tradition she started in 1995.

“The service is a good port of call for patients and family members who feel lonely or just need someone to talk to,” Gemma said. “I hope people continue to see us as an anchor in their time of need.

“It’s very sad to go. I will miss the hospital staff who have been so supportive to me over the years, especially the hospital’s social workers who make such a great difference to people’s lives.”

Caboolture Hospital Executive Director Dr Lance Le Ray said Gemma contributed so much to our patients, staff and the broader community and will be dearly missed by all.

“Gemma has been an important part of the care provided at our hospital over so many years – she has become part of the fabric of this hospital,” said Dr Le Ray.

“She was instrumental in setting up the Miscarriage Memorial Service at Caboolture in 1997, and at the time Caboolture was the first public hospital to offer this service to families. She has delivered hundreds of chaplaincy services at the hospital for patients, families and staff.

“We all wish here all the best during the next stage of her life.”

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