KRMC Welcomes New Chaplain
Tracia Deal has joined the team at Kalispell Regional Medical Center (KRMC) as the new chaplain. She fills the role previously held by Darren Schwartz, who accepted a full-time chaplain position with the Montana Army National Guard.
Having spent three weeks at KRMC already, she’s found the people here to be very nice and knowledgeable. “Our staff goes through so much and every once in a while, you’re going to have bad days,” Tracia says. “I want everybody to know that I am here for them. I’m trained to assist people through crises. You can talk to me about anything. I’m not here to push any sort of belief system onto you, I’m just here to be a good listener.”
Tracia is motivated by her love for helping patients, families and staff cope with the tough situations that come with the hospital setting. “I consider it an honor to be a part of those tender moments with people,” she continues. “Those moments are such sacred spaces. To be able to provide that support to them is very rewarding – both at a personal level and a spiritual level.”
Tracia hopes to get to know everyone around the medical center and encourages everyone to wear their badge high up on their shirt so she could put names to the faces.
One of Tracia’s goals in this position is to elevate spiritual care to another level. She plans to help better integrate the program into the care of patients, their families, and staff. She also hopes to emphasize education of volunteers to develop their skills.
Tracia was born in Missoula and raised in Polson for the first 10 years of her life. She then moved with her family to Boise, where she graduated from high school. She went on to attend Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon where she earned an Associate’s Degree before returning to Boise to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Boise State University. While at Boise State, she felt a calling towards ministry and decided to attend the Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. After earning her Masters in Divinity, she was ordained in ministry through the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Tracia’s career in ministry took her all over the country where she did associate ministry work, children-youth ministry, and even completed a new church plant in northern Idaho. While working as an associate minister in Georgia, she used her business background to land a second job at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, about an hour north of Atlanta. She worked closely with medical staff and got to know the industry in that role. While there, Tracia felt a calling to become a chaplain. For the next two years, she completed specialized training and a residency to become trained in chaplaincy. She is endorsed as a professional chaplain by her denomination and is a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains.
It had always been a dream of Tracia’s to move closer to home and not long afterwards, she got that opportunity. She was hired to be the chaplain at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center in Twin Falls, Idaho. She served in that position for four years until the position at KRMC opened up.
“I’ve always wanted to move back to northwest Montana,” says Tracia. “I always came up here while I was living in the area. And I still have family around here. Also Glacier National Park is my happy place, so I’m just really excited to be here.” Tracia notes that there really wasn’t a reason to leave St. Luke’s other than the fact that this job was in Kalispell. She’s excited to spend time with her husband Nick in the park.
Stop by the Chaplain’s office just down the hallway from the coffee shop to say hi to Tracia. She can be contacted from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at extension 1776. She encourages staff to call the communications center during off hours for spiritual care emergencies.