I am writing this letter in regards to the headlines in the Sept. 8 paper concerning the Ferguson Medical Group and Missouri Delta Medical Center.
Ferguson Medical Group (the clinic) has had a monopoly in this town for far too many years. This town is big enough, and when you count the surrounding area, more than big enough to support more than one set of doctors' offices.
I hear complaints all the time about the doctors at the clinic and their billing practices. I have heard complaints about MDMC as well, but it is the doctors and the emergency room wait time that are the problem; the same doctors who are at the clinic now.
Has anyone else noticed the job openings at the clinic in the paper? The same jobs have been open for months. I wonder why. I have heard several clinic workers talk about the turmoil there and the way they are treated.
Dr. Helfrich is a fine surgeon, as well as the rest of the surgeons. My understanding is there is a no-compete clause at Ferguson in the contract. Since there are no surgeons there, he is not competing against them, is he? My kids use the clinic and I can tell the employees have not been happy there for the past couple of years.
Ferguson should accept the fact that the surgeons weren't happy there and work to correct that problem. My opinion is the clinic is selfish and they don't want any competition.
The family of Father Amel Shibley has truly been comforted by the continued support of the Most Rev. John J. Leibrecht, bishop, and the clergy, religious parishioners and community members of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Southeastern Missouri area. We also appreciate the guidance of Monsignor Thomas E. Reidy, vicar, in the preparation of the Mass of Christian Burial.
We were moved deeply by the participation of over 40 fellow priests, including classmates from the seminary and religious at the Mass. A special note of thanks from our hearts to Monsignor Michael Swalina of Immaculate Conception Parish of New Madrid for his most heartening words at the Vigil for the Deceased as he helped us all gain understanding and hopefully strive to follow Father Shibley's motto: "All for Jesus through Mary with a Smile."
We owe a debt of gratitude to Ron Burger who organized the 4th Degree Honor Guard of the Knights of Columbus. The readings and presence of the 4th Degree Knights at the prayer service validated the words sung at the funeral Mass. "Yah-weh, I know you are near, standing always at my side. You guard me from the foe and you lead me in ways everlasting."
Our family was humbled by the endless line of his former parishioners, priests, religious and friends of St. Lawrence, New Hamburg, St. Francis Xavier in Sikeston, St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, St. Mary's Cathedral in Cape Girardeau, Guardian Angel Parish in Oran, St. Michael at Fredericktown, Immaculate Conception Church and the community of New Madrid. Each one shared their endearing stories of how their lives were connected to Father Shibley. They all surrounded our family and held us up on eagles' wings that evening.
We were uplifted by the angelic voices of the interparishional choir directed by Laura Riley and the ceremonial 21-gun salute and presentation of the flags by the Color Guard of American Legion Post 595, lead by Commander Tony Sullenger. The final song, "Salve Regina," sung by Bishop Leibrecht and the priests comforted us all. These groups certainly confirmed in our hearts and minds that our commitment to God, followed by allegiance to our great country, should be foremost in our lives.
We also thank our dear friends, Jeannie Harrington and Jeannette Haubold for their dinner for the family after the wake. Many thanks and appreciation also goes to the many skillful hands from Immaculate Conception Church that prepared the meal for the clergy, religious and family after the funeral Mass. This dinner was provided by Loretto Alexander, Ada Odom, Anna Lee Hayes and Ellen Lane and their committee members. Both gatherings nurtured our bodies and our spirits.
A constant support to our family was Bobby and Lillian Hedgepeth along with Jimmy McSpadden of Richards-Hedgepeth Funeral Home. They paid such close attention to detail and met our needs as they guided us through this time of sorrow.
These words can never begin to convey how Father Shibley's life was enriched with your love, prayers, brothership in Christ, many home-cooked dinners, friendship, support and sincere concern. God has truly blessed us to be recipients of such an outpouring of love from all of you. We will keep you in our hearts and prayers and may God continue to bless each of you.
Nieces, nephews and their families of the Rev. Amel Shibley