A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Dr. Ken Foree: The Good Doctor and the Broom
By ERIC FOLKERTH
Here is a story that exemplifies the sense of quiet and humble servanthood Ken Foree embodied.
Invariably, after a long day of working at the clinic, Ken would come back to the guesthouse and head straight to the kitchen. Even though there was a cook, he would do what he could to help with dinner. He’d wash dishes after dinner, too.
After dinner one night, I told him that I’d noticed this and how he seemed ready to serve others at every turn. And I noticed how he did it quietly, without fanfare.
Ken paused for while, thought about it, then said how important it was to lead by example. Then he told a story I’ve never forgotten.
Years before at Baylor Hospital, between cases on a full afternoon of eye surgeries, he picked up broom and started sweeping an operating room floor. A fellow surgeon saw what he was doing and took him aside.
“Ken, this is beneath you. We have staff to do this. You are the doctor and they are the staff, and everybody has their role. You should not be sweeping the floor.”
Ken replied, “No, I am the leader, and I am modeling what we all should be doing. I had a few minutes to spare and nothing to do, so I decided to sweep the floor. In fact, we should all be sweeping the floor.”
Ken said the other doctor huffed off, incensed at this breach of the immutable hospital caste system.
Ken paused again. It was already dark as he told me this story. It was probably nearly 95 degrees, with 90 percent humidity and no air conditioning. We were sweating through our clothes.
“But sometime later,” Ken said, “I was passing an operating room. And I saw that doctor. And, son of a gun, if he hadn’t picked up a broom and he was sweeping the floor.“
Ken leaned back in his chair. He turned a wry, satisfied smile as we sat in silence, listening to crickets chirp and stray dogs bark in the hot Haitian night.