Thinking outside the box, Saint Joseph Berea chaplain Leo Fain shows compassion to patients and employees in unique ways.
“I ask myself, ‘What can I do differently to take care of the patient?’” Leo said. “Because of that, I’ve been able to implement a few programs. We have swing bed patients who may stay here from a week to eight weeks. You have more time to work with [swing bed patients], and I noticed we had quite a few blankets at [Saint Joseph Hospital] that weren’t in use, so I asked my manager if we could give those blankets to swing bed graduates before they leave [the hospital].
“On an availability basis, I try to match up a blanket with a patient, and it means something to them. These blankets are made by volunteers so they are all different.”
Leo has been serving at Saint Joseph Berea for almost one year, and served in the Lexington market for five years. A Florida native, Leo said he has enjoyed serving the spiritual needs of the community.
“I have found it very rewarding to work with a professional and compassionate group of people,” Leo said. “This community reminds me of my childhood home of Cocoa, Florida.”
Leo attended Western Kentucky University, where he met Joyce, his wife of 46 years. He earned his Master of Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Care at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. He worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years prior to chaplaincy.
Leo has been a member of Pleasant Green Baptist Church in Lexington for over 30 years and currently serves as associate minister outside his duties as chaplain at Saint Joseph Berea.
“I just had a virtual family reunion, and we counted the number of pastors we had in our family,” Leo said. “We counted 18 or 20. That’s the ground I came out of. It’s the way I grew up. Much of my life was spent in the finance industry, but I’ve always had a passion for theology.”
Leo’s passion comes through as compassion and love for his patients and employees. By working with interdisciplinary teams, Leo said he gains a better understanding of his patients’ needs and also the needs of colleagues. But one piece of advice that helps Leo was given to him before he became a chaplain.
“When you deal with a large number of patients, change is what many of them are dealing with,” Leo said. “They are used to having all four limbs and they now may not have any of the four anymore. They are used to being able to do something that they are now limited to a certain degree.
“I think it is human to be disappointed, but there’s a verse in Philippians 4:11-13 that reminds us ‘In all things be content.’ I learned to appreciate life, and in the context of my work, I learned each day is a privilege and to be able to work with people is a privilege and to do this type of work is a privilege.”
Outside of his ministry work, Leo enjoys reading, walking, traveling and watching a wide range of sporting activities. This stems from his childhood and college participation in football, track and baseball. He spends a lot of time with family and friends. He has three daughters, a son and nine grandchildren, and he attempts to find ways to encourage them in their own endeavors.