Beloved ‘Dr. C’ honored by planting of tree that defies hardships
By Caroline Nickerson
Organized by a team with members from the Sulzbacher Center and the Dr. Richard C. Christensen Memorial Editorial Board, the Dr. Richard C. Christensen (Dr. C) Memorial Tree Planting on Jan. 5 was a moving way to remember a man who touched so many lives.
The team planted a bald cypress tree, selecting a tree not only likely to thrive in the swampy area in front of the Jacksonville building, but also rife with symbolism: this tree, like Dr. C, flourishes in environments deemed unsuitable or inhospitable by others. Christensen, who passed away in November 2015, dedicated his life to serving the homeless and underserved through the practice of community psychiatry.
The program began outside by the newly planted tree with a welcome from Cindy Funkhouser, president and CEO of the Sulzbacher Center. John Bowls then read Dr. C’s favorite prayer, the “Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola.” The gathering of over 50 former clients, friends, colleagues and family members then made their way inside for the rest of the program, which included musicians from the Sulzbacher Center leading the crowd in singing “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.”