It’s not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing that matters. -Mother Teresa
The Fecht clan used to live a few doors down from us and they had a pretty house which sat right on the corner of the street. Will and Julie Fecht have three smart, terrific kiddos. Their oldest son, Jacob, is the same age as my Drew, and I used to share Catholic school carpool duties with Julie. She and I talked quite a bit during those years, mostly about the logistics of schlepping our rug rats around. She’s a pediatrician and a lovely, articulate woman of faith.
Of the five Fechts, it was Will that I knew the least. I was aware that he liked roller-blading (because he often whizzed by the house wearing them) and hockey and I knew that he was a Wabash College grad– because his daughter Karen told me! He was always friendly, but we were just acquainted a little. It wasn’t until my father-in-law, Tom, got very ill that I discovered that Dr. Will Fecht is in fact a truly amazing doctor and compassionate human being.
Grandpa Tom has colon cancer. About 3 years ago, his cancer returned and his health seemed to be rapidly declining. He was barely getting off the couch, and his weight was very low. He had been in and out of the hospital, and we made sure that he was anointed by his pastor, Fr. Pat Click. I’m no medical professional, but it just felt to me like his condition was not being addressed with the urgency that seemed appropriate given his poor state of physical health. We couldn’t seem to get the attention of the needed specialist or surgeon in short order, and I was worried that by the time they got to him, it would be too late. I was wracking my brain trying to think how to get Tom Sr. the care he needed. Enter Dr. Will Fecht.
I text Will’s wife, Julie, and asked her to confirm for me that Will is in fact a gastroenterologist. I figured that even though my father-in-law’s situation wasn’t an exact match for Will’s typical patient, he might have some guidance he’d be willing to impart or know a colleague who could possibly assist. Will went way above and beyond. He saw the two of us in his office, and within short order, Grandpa Tom was admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital where he had his remaining colon removed. I strongly believe Will Fecht was largely responsible for saving Tom’s life.
Grandpa Tom and his twin sister, Josephine, will celebrate their 80th birthday next month. He’s still doing well three years later and has had many opportunities to make memories with his children and grandchildren during that time. There have been Christmas mornings, school choir concerts, high school basketball, football, and baseball games with his grandsons. Granddaughter, Katie, played a lead part in the school play last year. My son, Drew, graduated from Guerin Catholic as valedictorian. Last weekend, Grandpa Tom went with my brother in law, Jerome, to see Purdue’s football team win their home opener. He took a road trip to St. Louis to see an Indy Car race recently with his nephew, Brian. There have been multiple Indy 500’s. I truly don’t believe that any of these terrific memories with Grandpa Tom would have been possible without the intervention at a crucial time of one Dr. Will Fecht. When we raise a glass and toast these two great souls on their big birthday event this October 27th down at Thieme and Wagner Brewing in Lafayette, I’ll be saying a prayer of thanksgiving to my old neighbor, Will Fecht.
THANK YOU, Will, for being a blessing to others through the work you do each day, and the compassion with which you do it! The Thieme family appreciates you!