Southeast Georgia Health System director of Pastoral Care, Rev. Wright A. Culpepper, D.Min., was presented the prestigious Georgia Hospital Heroes Award at the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) Annual Meeting on Nov. 11, 2015. Rev. Culpepper, who was one of only 10 individuals statewide to receive the award, was recognized for his work in the community through FaithWorks, a faith-based organization partnering with the Health System as well as churches, businesses and individuals to maximize resources to meet human needs.
“Wright is a tireless giver with a heart of gold,” says Patrick D. Ebri, Ph.D., FACHE, vice president, Human Resources, Southeast Georgia Health System. “He has incredible business acumen, which he puts to use every day for the benefit of the community rather than self. Despite all his great personal qualities and successes, he has managed to remain humble and true to his calling.”
Rev. Culpepper has spent more than 20 years working diligently to improve the circumstances of residents in Glynn County and Southeast Georgia, and countless individuals have benefited from his generosity and dedication to caring for others.
Within the Health System, Rev. Culpepper and his team of chaplains provide on-site pastoral support 40 hours a week, plus on-call support 24/7. In 2014, they provided pastoral services to 2,200 Health System patients and their families as well as team members, physicians and volunteers.
As executive director of FaithWorks, however, Rev. Culpepper’s work extends beyond the walls of the Health System. When he identifies problems that prevent people from moving toward good health, he collaborates with others at the Health System and in the community to develop poverty-related ministries and services that help advance health.
One such program is Sparrows Nest, a ministry that distributes food on a weekly basis and provides emergency financial assistance to individuals who have experienced financial crisis due to an accident, illness, fire or a death in the family. Another program is the Health Care Ministry, which provides information and services to chronically ill patients, especially those who are elderly or homebound.
When Rev. Culpepper became aware of homeless people who could not be discharged from the hospital because they did not have an address, he developed a Homeless Transition Program that includes a house for temporary lodging and case management services to assist these individuals with their next steps. FaithWorks also created Open Doors, a ministry that provides case management, mentoring and education to help individuals integrate back into the community after incarceration, and The Well, a day hospitality and resource center for people that are homeless.
“Rev. Culpepper has launched extraordinary programs in the community that afford countless individuals the ability to be safe, happy and healthy,” said GHA President and CEO, Earl Rogers. “We thank him for his dedication to improving the health of the people of Southeast Georgia. He is a most-deserving recipient of this award.”
Rev. Culpepper is an extension minister serving through the South Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church.