Clergy Appreciation Week is Feb. 3-9

FD Civitan Club seeks citizens to thank ministers for service

In observance of Clergy Appreciation Week, the local Fort Dodge Civitan Club is asking the citizens of the city to say thank you to their ministers for their service and dedication they do. The idea for Clergy Week is to help promote world brotherhood and religious understanding among all people, regardless of religious persuasion. It is a time when we can reflect upon our individual religious beliefs and to promote an understanding and acceptance of the rights of others to participate in a religion different from our own.

On February 3, 1943, the USS Dorchester carried four men of God, one a Catholic, one Jewish, and two Protestant aboard and 905 American servicemen bound for Greenland. A Nazi submarine, stalking the ship undetected, took this opportunity to fire a torpedo straight toward the ship’s flank. The missile struck amid ships and exploded in the boiler room. Many on board died instantly; some were trapped below deck. Others, jolted from their bunks, half asleep clambered to reach the decks of the stricken vessel. The ship, taking on water rapidly, began listing to starboard. Because security reasons prevented use of distress flares, escort vessels, still close enough to assist, pushed on into the darkness, unaware that the Dorchester was sinking. Overcrowded lifeboats capsized; rafts drifted away before before anyone could reach them.

On deck, the four Army chaplains, George L. Fox, Alexander D. Goode, Clark V. Poling and John P. Washington moved about calming frightened men, directing bewildered soldiers to lifeboats, and distributing life jackets with calm precision. Soon the supply of jackets was exhausted, yet four young soldiers were still without life vests. Quickly the chaplains stripped off their own and forced them upon the young soldiers.

Therefore, Civitan International, located in Birmingham, Alabama, has declared the week of February 3-9 as International Clergy Appreciation week and urge all citizens to thank their clergy for the work they do.

The local Civitan club meets weekly for informational programs of interest on Wednesday mornings at 7 a.m. at Zakeers’ Restaurant, 425 Second Ave S. For more information about the club, contact Nancy Leo at 576-4249.

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