ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Most of us have only seen it on Law and Order episodes: the police coming to tell a family that aloved one has been killed. Father William Wentink, the head chaplain of the Rockford Police Department, has seen it all first-hand. After 41 years he will be retiring his post on Dec. 1.
In the '70s they called him the "priest who patrols the streets." For decades he has witnessed Rockford’s greatest tragedies... and watched heroes die on duty. On bad days he says he goes to the maternity ward at OSF St. Anthony's Medical Center to see newborns, building back his faith and his hope.
Wentink said, "I will miss dealing with the police officers and the firefighters who are really true heroes. What you don't see on the news media is the every day acts of kindness that the police officers and firefighters do for the people they deal with."
Father Wentink has never been paid for his service. The city's 30 chaplains are all volunteers and on call 24 hours a day every day of the year.