by Jay Wintermeyer
SPOKANE, Wash., April 12, 2016 - Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) dedicated a new walking trail in honor of Dr. Jay Randal Sloop Wednesday, April 6. The dedication ceremony was attended by Jay’s family, friends and former coworkers.
The trail is a mile-long gravel walking trail that encircles the UCC office in Spokane, constructed to honor Jay and his commitment to physical and mental health. The path winds its way through a forest of ponderosa pines and wild flowers as well as an open grassy area behind the office building.
Dr. Fred Hardinge, associate health ministries director for the Adventist Church, said, “What a fitting memorial to one who so strongly advocated and demonstrated the value of physical activity. Jay was a pioneer in reminding us of what science today is confirming—we cannot sit at our desks all day and remain healthy. For our own physical, mental, and spiritual well-being we must get out and move throughout each day. This trail is a legacy to those principles!”
During the dedication ceremony, Elder Paul Hoover, UCC president, shared his memories of Jay and his dedication and love to all those he served around the world. Other UCC staff also shared memories of working with Jay.
Before the ribbon cutting ceremony and the unveiling of the trail marker, Dr. Fred Hardinge presented Jay’s family with a Medal of Distinguished Service in Health Ministry on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“We want to express our profound and deepest appreciation for the lifework of Dr. Jay Randall Sloop. Sharlene, Rick, Randy, Greg and your extended families, we want you to know that the life of your husband, father, and grandfather was deeply appreciated as it touched so many,” said Hardinge.
Jay served as a physician in Yakima, Wash. until he retired. In retirement he stayed actively involved in health outreach, including serving as the health ministries director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of northeastern Oregon.
Jay disappeared In 2013 while serving on a three-week mission trip with a team of health professionals helping the Adventist church in Kiev, Ukraine, set up a lifestyle center. As was his custom, Jay went for an early-morning walk. His fellow team members became concerned when he did not arrive at the appointed time for breakfast.
Full text of Fred Hardinge’s Remarks
It is a privilege to have the opportunity of being here today for this special occasion. I can think of a no more fitting tribute to honor Dr. Jay Randall Sloop’s commitment to challenging everyone he contacted—patients, friends, church members, even the casual acquaintance—to take seriously their own health: physically, mentally, and spiritually. Exercise was a cornerstone of his everyday life—daily walks on the hills near their home, or a climb on a mountain in the Cascades, and saying to colleagues during a break in meetings, “Come on, let’s walk around the parking lot together!”
It is a privilege for me to represent the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the GC Health Ministries Department at the dedication of this trail—a lasting reminder of one who contributed so much to our lives, and the lives of so many he touched before his untimely and tragic passing while walking in Kiev, Ukraine nearly 3 years ago.
What a fitting memorial to one who so strongly advocated and demonstrated the value of physical activity. Jay was a pioneer in reminding us of what science today is confirming—we cannot sit at our desks all day and remain healthy. For our own physical, mental, and spiritual well-being we must get out and move throughout each day. This trail is a legacy to those principles!
About 15 years ago, the General Conference Department of Health Ministries, in cooperation with GC leadership established the Medal of Distinguished Service in Health Ministry. This award was envisioned to recognize individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions to the work of Health Ministry. It is an award that knows no boundaries. Eighty-six medals have been awarded to a very diverse group of individuals including life-long medical missionaries, academics, pastors, physicians, dentists, nurses, health educators—all humble, devoted servant leaders in this field.
Today, I have the privilege of presenting the 87th Medal to my friend, my mentor, Dr. Jay Randall Sloop, posthumously. This is a historic moment because it has never been awarded posthumously, which also causes us the pain of regret for not having presented this to Dr. Sloop in his lifetime.
Those of you who had the privilege of personally knowing Dr. Sloop, knew he was endowed with significant capability and talent. Yet he was humble to the core of everything he did. His life was focused on serving His God, family, and community. He was one of the most balanced individuals I have ever known—a quality not always present in adequate measure among those who promote healthful living. He was a man of deep convictions and consecration to God. Having spent many, many hours in conversations with Dr. Sloop over the years, his unassuming servant leadership often hid a sharp, insightful intellect that blessed so many.
On behalf of the General Conference Executive Committee, Elder Ted Wilson, President of our world church, and Dr. Peter Landless, Director of Health Ministries globally for the same body, it is an honor for me to signal to the Sloop family our profound and deepest appreciation for the lifework of Dr. Jay Randall Sloop. Sharlene, Rick, Randy, Greg and your extended families we want you to know that the life of your husband, father, and grandfather was deeply appreciated as it touched so many.
Jay’s work was always focused on the blessed hope of Jesus soon return. This is expressed so beautifully in 1 Thess 4: “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus… For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” Amen!