By Kathy L. Collins
Valerie Storms, daughter of long time area residents Alice and Nat Storms, is the Manager of Chaplaincy Care at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa. She is also the President of the Association of Professional Chaplains, a nationwide organization with over 4,200 members.
Chaplains represent many faiths as the member of a healthcare team. Storms provides support to patients, families and staff. She has received clinical training and understands the needs of hospital patients, their families and the staff who care for the patients. Storms said, “I am here to help people to tap into what they already know. I simply provide spiritual support to patients, family and even the hospital staff.”
With a soothing yet energetic voice, Storms seeks to provide comfort and support. It does not matter whether the person has faith or not. Storms is easy to converse with and one can see how and why she is so successful at what she does.
Storms said, “This was never my idea (to become an ordained minister).” Storms, a graduate of Brandon High School, graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Elementary Education. She went to work teaching physically challenged children. Storms says that she became unsettled. “Many of the children were in and out of hospitals. The parents would ask why their child. I was restricted from talking in spiritual terms. It was then that I felt a calling from God.”
Storms then went to get her Masters degree in Religious Education with an emphasis on social work. She soon learned that this was still not where she needed to be. “I then went on to obtain my Masters of Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary instead,” explained Storms. She then received her Clinical Pastoral Education at Memorial Southwestern Hospital in Houston.
Storms became an ordained minister at the First Baptist Church of Brandon on December 22, 1985. She is a Board Certified Chaplain.
Storms is a busy person. She manages a staff of eight at the hospital, and is the leader of the Association of Professional Chaplains. This June she will get to officiate at the Annual Conference of the Association in Orlando. “I get to lead the conference in my home state,” said Storms.