by Rev. Dr. David Van Horn
Marshall Ministerial Alliance
Over the past 10 days our community lost a giant! I am remembering in this article Chaplain Floyd W. Case, former Chaplain of the Marshall State School/Marshall Habilitation Center. After serving various congregations in Huntsville and Slater, he came to us and served for 35 years. In that time he became a dear, dear friend to hundreds upon hundreds of people in Saline County. He mentored various past and present clergy and was a valued member of the Marshall Ministerial Alliance.
I remember a saying that has been used on several occasions, "Walk softly and carry a big stick." I also remember indicating to Chaplain Floyd that the saying reminded me of him and his ministry. In my mind's eye, I can visualize Chaplain Floyd being a very thoughtful person, promoting and always lifting up each and every person he encountered, no matter who they might be, their background or their particular station in life. Chaplain Floyd looked at God's creation and each person as a person of worth, a person of value, and as a child of God.
What was the big stick, you might ask? Chaplain Floyd's "big stick" was the message he shared of God's love through Jesus Christ.
Chaplain Floyd's ministry at MHC was simply -- and I cannot put it in any other words -- God's gift to the residents/consumers and employees of MHC. He cared, he loved. He was a very important presence in their lives. The MHC was a much better place because of God placing Chaplain Floyd there among those needing that special one-on-one unique care and love ... and he gave them both in huge quantities. He was a Special Olympic supporter and attended several Special Olympics and other special needs camps with the residents. Hundreds of lives were impacted by his presence and ministry.
When Chaplain Floyd retired in 2007, his ministry was not finished. In 2009, he was one of the original six Marshall Police Department Chaplains. This began a new chapter in ministry for this community by serving not only police personnel and their families, but those who serve in various situations and conditions of life. He served faithfully with the MPD for five years, until his body prevented him from functioning in this capacity.
Chaplain Floyd also served and worked faithfully within the Marshall Ministerial Alliance, functioning on committees, participating in community services of worship, and urging the Alliance to promote its unity and service within the community.
Chaplain Floyd, an ordained clergy of the Christian Church -- Disciples of Christ -- was active in his church and served in various educational rolls as called upon. He worked within the youth ministry by serving as counselor at many junior and senior high youth camps, conferences and mission trips. I think he looked upon these ministries as an opportunity to energize and recharge his batteries. Chaplain Floyd was a World War II Navy veteran, who served primarily in the South Pacific area of operations. He was exceptionally proud of his service and we were all amazed of his ability to fit into his original Naval uniform up to the end. He had many stories to share of his Naval experiences.
Chaplain Floyd loved his family, loved his community, his country and he loved each of us.
Thank you, my friend, Chaplain Floyd, for sharing yourself with us ... and with me. I am better for it and this community is so much better for it.