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Woman's New Life Clinic

From Our Blog

We’ve Been On the Run For 10 Years!

In early 2007 we were relatively newly married. Bridget and I lived in Baton Rouge in our little house with furniture that had been given to us by friends and family. One couch had actually been “reclaimed” after being thrown out by an LSU fraternity. It was a time of life when money was neither present nor important, but Bridget and I had big dreams for our family.

Those dates could be marked as B.C., that is, before children. Then, unlike now with our 6 children, weekend trips to New Orleans only required a car and half a tank of gas. On one of these gallivants we decided to attend mass at one of our favorite New Orleans churches, St. Patrick’s on Camp Street.

After mass a recent law school graduate, Angie Thomas, spoke of the vision and growth of Woman’s New Life Center. Bridget and I were already familiar with Susan Mire and WNLC’s founding due to our time in New Orleans in the early 2000s. Bridget had worked at Girls Hope and I had coached football and taught theology at Jesuit. Nonetheless, we weren’t in a position to support the ministry financially in 2007, but a seed was planted that Sunday.

About four years later we received a save-the-date postcard for WNLC’s first Born to Run 5K race in 2011. By this time we were pregnant with our 4th child. Bridget was very excited and cleared the calendar. I was more cautious and imagined Bridget going into labor at the end of the race while I was receiving intravenous fluids having pushed a double stroller for three-plus miles.

GK Chesterton once said that “marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honor should decline.” I’ve seen pictures of GK Chesterton and I tend to doubt he would have accepted his wife’s challenge to a five kilometer race.

Having accepted my wife’s challenge, we drove to City Park on a beautiful Saturday morning. Despite my initial fears the race was a joy and a brass band from Treme made the after party one for the ages. Susan Mire was visiting and thanking runners when she walked up to speak with me. Maybe it was the fun-loving dancing, my post-race serotonin, or even that second Abita, but I couldn’t help myself from blurting out: “What a great event to celebrate life. Too bad more people couldn’t be here to experience it.”

My fate was sealed. Susan followed up with a couple of well-practiced closing questions and I had committed myself to a meeting without the slightest recognition of the ploy. A month later I found myself at Whole Foods in Baton Rouge at an “advice” meeting. In a conclusion that was startling to me, but less so to Susan Mire, the advice meeting transitioned into my selection as the Born to Run Chair for 2012.

Suddenly my optimistic advice was replaying as a torturous loop in my mind. With the urgency of one motivated by self-preservation, I started calling friends in the New Orleans area with a simple request: Join us for lunch at WNLC to hear about an exciting initiative. Attendance does not require participation. The offer of lunch was my enticement but the desperation in my voice made the latter sentence less convincing.

During that lunch I honestly explained that I was in over my head and the need for a concerted effort for the race to be an ongoing success. Like the Good Samaritan in the Gospel, friends and volunteers who attended that first lunch could not simply ride past the scene of an imminent disaster. They put the event on their shoulders and delivered a well-attended, successful event.

My time on the race committee prompted a greater appreciation for the staff and volunteers of WNLC. One cannot spend much time around these individuals and not be impressed by their commitment, their professionalism and the faith that drives them to serve those in need. In short they make WNLC a unique and a beautiful gift to our community.

After Born to Run in 2012 Bridget and I had fallen in love with the ministry and she told me that WNLC was the only ministry that she would consent for us to serve outside the home. Hence, I knew she would be happy when I was invited to join the Board in 2013. It’s been an exciting four years and humbling to watch as God provides.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize how blessed I am to be part of such an amazing organization. Our amazing staff may see a heartbroken, post-abortive mother, a couple struggling with infertility, and a high school student seeking a physician that cares about her as an individual all in one day! In all instances of service WNLC seeks to honor the dignity of the individual. In this way we bring Christ to others and to each other.

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