Father Norman R. Oswald honored with award upon retirement after more than 20 years as Chief of Chaplain Service at Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN — Father Norman R. Oswald, the longtime Chief of the Chaplain Service at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center inMilwaukee, was honored on Monday with the Medal of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). The Most Reverend Bishop Richard B. Higgins, AMS Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar for Veterans Affairs, presented the Medal to Father “Norm” in a brief, emotional ceremony in the offices of the Director of the Medical Center, Mr. Robert H. Beller. The award was authorized by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, in recognition for Father Norm’s “long and outstanding service to veterans, their families, and the caregivers at the Zablocki Medical Center.”
The presentation comes on the occasion of Father Norm’s impending retirement, effective April 30. Father Norm is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and he is endorsed by the AMS to provide for the spiritual needs of veterans receiving medical care at the massive Zablocki VA campus adjacent to Miller Park, home of Major League Baseball’sMilwaukee Brewers. Following several parish assignments in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Father Norm began his VA career as a part-time chaplain in 1990. Given permission by his Archbishop to serve in a full-time position with VA, Father Norm quickly rose to become Chief of the Chaplain Service at the Zablocki Medical Center, a position he has held since 1994.
Describing Father Norm as the “perfect model of a Chief of Chaplain Service,” Mr. Beller praised the priest for his years of devoted service to veterans and their families. In addition to recognizing Father Norm’s ministry to the patients and caregivers at the Zablocki Medical Center, Mr. Ballard hailed Father Norm for the leadership and guidance he has provided to senior staff at the Medical Center. Quoting from the citation that accompanied the award of the Medal of the Archdiocese, Bishop Higgins lauded Father Norm for his “fidelity to his priesthood, exemplary care of veterans, exceptional pastoral competence and joyful ministry.”
Father Norm said:
“I was surprised and deeply honored to receive this Medal and the Citation – to serve the Veterans, their families, and the staff that serve them has been extremely rewarding. To be recognized in this way reflects not just on me but on the fraternity of the Priesthood that serves those who have served. “
Present at the ceremony: Bishop Richard B. Higgins, Mr. Robert Beller, Director Clement R. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Mr. James McLain, Deputy Director, Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Chaplain (Father) John Perez, Chaplain (Father) Robert Barry, O.P., Chaplain Dan Fitten, Mrs. Donna Babineau, Administrative Assistant to Father Oswald, and Benjamin Slane, VA Public Affairs Specialist.
In his retirement Father Oswald will return to “senior” ministry in his native Archdiocese of Milwaukee.