Press Statement 03-001
Statement by Dr. Karl Erb, Director of the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs, On The Death of the Rev. John Coleman
May 10, 2003
On behalf of the men and women of the U.S. Antarctic Program, I would like to express our sadness at the death of the Rev. John Coleman, who served as the Catholic chaplain at McMurdo Station for almost 20 years.
John died of cancer in Christchurch, N.Z., on May 9 at the age of 71.
Since 1985, in the face of the harsh conditions and isolation that go hand-in-hand with service in Antarctica, he had been a source of inspiration and a steadying presence "on the ice."
While John's ministry included a parish in his native New Zealand, he was best known to those of us in the program as our genial priest in a parka. In the station's Chapel of Snows, but also in the dining hall and almost anywhere else people gathered in "Mactown," John lent his ear to anyone who needed his understanding and guidance, recognizing that beyond the physical strain of Antarctic service, life at McMurdo can sometimes place a great deal of stress on families and marriages.
"We're not just about God," John once said of himself and the other spiritual leaders in McMurdo. "We're about the needs of people."
We are all very grateful to him for doing just that.
Peter West, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email@example.com
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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