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Chaplain (Major) Henry T. Vakoc, Retired

Jan 8, 1960 to June 20, 2009

A Gift For Fr. Tim


Saturday, September 17, 2011 2:41 PM CDT

On Thursday, June 9th at 10 a.m. at east 54th Avenue and Minnehaha -- across from the Veteranís Administration Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota -- another Fisher House was dedicated.

The 16,000-square-foot, 20-room, brick structure, across from the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, offers a free place to stay for up to 40 family members of combat-injured veterans receiving treatment at the VA.

However, this was not the only dedication ceremony held that day. A new bus stop with a new bench, located near the new Fisher House, was dedicated in the name of Father Tim. A plaque, inscribed with a moving quote from Fr. Tim, stands next to the bus stopís bench. The inscription reads:

ďThe safest place to be is the center of Godís will. And if that is in the line of fire, thatís where Iíll be.Ē

Fr, Timís sister recently told a friend about her relationship with her younger brother. This story typifies Fr. Timís relationship with the men and women he pastored during his time in the military.

Tim was 12 when I left home. We saw one another but with his life -- college, working on the East Coast, seminary , priesthood, army -- we did not get to spend a lot of time together. With his injury I had the special experience of getting to know the "Adult Tim" through those who were close to him in his adult life.

One of those stories was from when he was in the army. Last night I was thinking about the bus bench being dedicated to Tim. This story came to mind. Tim had the habit of not sitting in his office or quarters waiting for the soldiers to come to him. He would take a book and go sit on the steps, of the mess hall, or on a "bench" where soldiers would come and go. He would sit there and read. He was going to them. Making himself available to them just in case they wanted to talk. This brought a smile to my face. I had this vision of Tim sitting on the bus bench, being there for the soldiers.

A soldier who was present when Fr. Tim was injured had this reflection about this story. He said,ĒIt gave me goose bumps because that is soooo Knuckles (Fr Tim). You could hardly catch him at his office since he was roaming around talking to his Soldiers or preparing for his Mass.Ē

Fr. Timís family is interested in collecting ďTimĒ stories. If you have any stories Ė short, long, funny, poignant, insightful, from childhood or high school or college, or seminary, or anytime in between Ė please forward them to the family. They would love to hear how Tim touched your lives, and how you touched Timís life.

Send your stories to: padretim92@msn.com

Donations to be made in the name of Fr. Henry Timothy Vakoc:.

Fr. Timís family offers their heartfelt thanks for those who would like to make donations to any of the following organizations: the Franciscan Brothers of Peace; the Fisher House construction project on the grounds of the Minneapolis Veteransí Administration Hospital (now completed); The TKE Fraternity St. Cloud University Scholarship Fund; or, St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Please specify that you are making a donation in the name of Fr. Tim Vakoc. Please use the link marked ďRead Journal HistoryĒ to see the details on donating to any of these organizations.

You might also consider making a donation to Caringbridge.org Ė the organization that hosts this website for Fr. Tim and his family. This organization provides the free web space and absorbs the cost of maintaining the site. This web site has been on Caringbridge.org since June 2004, providing a place to learn about Fr. Timís life and family. For more information go to http://www.caringbridge.org . Please mention that you are donating in Fr. Timís name.

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E-mail Author: southard57@gmail.com


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