A 28-year Army veteran, Ed Lane never had much interest in ministry, despite growing up in a church environment. That changed when his local Episcopal bishop noticed something in him.
“I lost a good friend whom I’d served with in the Army,” Lane said. “In his last days, he didn’t have a spiritual adviser, and I performed the last rites of the church for him when he passed. That led to some attention from my bishop’s office, and the bishop said, ‘You might have a calling.’”
Three years later, in 2010, Lane got ordained in the Episcopal Church at age 61. After ordination he participated in a clinical pastoral education program at the Louisville VA Medical Center, which sparked his interest in serving in health care.
“When I was considering assisting at Flaget Memorial Hospital, I walked in and looked around, and the feeling was different from any other hospital I’d visited,” Lane said. “I don’t know what it was, but it felt welcoming, and it put me at ease. I hope patients and family members feel that same welcoming warmth when they arrive.”
Small Gestures, Big Impact
Lane has served as a chaplain at Flaget Memorial Hospital for the last seven years, first in an as-needed role and now as part-time staff. He visits each inpatient floor to talk with patients, learn about their needs and help them feel comfortable. He also checks in with the employees of each department to see how they’re doing. Every day is different — just the way Lane likes it — which makes his previous life experiences especially valuable.
“If you’re going to be successful as a police officer or in the military, you have to work with people from all walks of life,” he said. “That equipped me to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds in the hospital.”
Simple words of thanks are what Lane finds most rewarding about his work.
“Every once in a while, a colleague will say, ‘Thank you, chaplain,’ for something I did for him or her or someone else and had forgotten. That tells me what the chaplains do makes an impact.”
U.S. Army veteran and Flaget Memorial Hospital chaplain Ed Lane combines his longtime interest in military history with honoring America’s fallen troops.
As a member of the Department of Kentucky Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Lane helps identify, verify and rededicate the gravestones of Union soldiers. He and fellow members also hold living history demonstrations and memorial services on national holidays, such as Veterans Day.
Each June, Lane travels to France to join reenactors commemorating the World War II D-Day invasion of Normandy. Lane also conducts a memorial service at Omaha Beach, where his brother, a D-Day survivor, landed.