Reflections on a Good Friend
March 21, 2017
By: David Dick, HRMC President & CEO
I want to reflect for a moment with each of you as we begin 2017. I start this reflection with a tribute to the value of virtue – in particular, that of a life lived with great virtue for our hospital and community. Dr. Karl Blessinger passed away on November 2, 2016, after serving as HRMC’s pathologist for more than 18 years. He also served as HRMC’s laboratory and blood bank medical director and as chairman of our hospital board for many years.
From the moment he arrived in our community in 1998, Dr. Blessinger also generously shared his time, talent and money with the community of Huron including serving on the United Way and Huron Chamber and Visitor Bureau boards.
Here at HRMC, we often talk amongst ourselves about how much we miss Karl. Recently, I was spending some quiet time in the office where Karl worked for so many years. I noticed a book he had received from his coworkers as a gift called The Book of Virtues. How fitting, I thought to myself, because the impact of Karl’s virtues in work and in philanthropy have made a true difference for our community.
What I miss the most about Karl is his friendship, not just for me but also for you – even if you never met the man, I know he was your true friend. Karl studied the science of pathology so that this knowledge would lead to something good for you and any HRMC patients in the form of clear diagnosis. Even though sometimes the news wasn’t good, having a clear answer was good.
In this book there is a discussion on the virtue of friendship, including this quote from Aristotle: “A desire of friendship may arise quickly but not friendship itself.” Aristotle explained that of all virtues, friendship was the top. Without it every other goodness was simply perishable.
We all might have many aspirations about what will make 2017 a great year. But if we understand Aristotle right, everything we gain and wish for this year will perish if we can’t share it in the virtue of friendship. Aristotle writes about three main types of friends. The virtue of the last type is that of a person who is a good person – yet that goodness isn’t an end in itself until it brings goodness to you, his friend.
In other words, most of us try to be good people and good friends – the difference is the motivation we have for being good. Karl was a good person and a good friend and he proved it by bringing goodness to me, our staff, our patients and our community.
In 2017 and beyond, I must embrace these virtues and work on myself so I have more to give to you. We miss our friend Dr. Blessinger, yet with him in mind, we know where to go from here, as good friends.
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