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Gerry Grossman: Man of faith and Prog Rock
gerry grossman neighbor
When he's not serving the community as a Turlock Police Department chaplain, Gerry Grossman enjoys woodworking and listening to Prog Rock. - photo by Photo Contributed

Q. How did your call to service come about?

A. "When I was 18 years old and a senior at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, I was part of a Jesuit led mission to build a chapel for the poorest of the poor – those who lived within the city dump in Juarez, Mexico.

On our last evening there, I was standing and watching the sky as we prepared to leave.  A young girl, probably no more than 3 years old, came beside me and put her arms around my leg.  As we smiled at each other, God clearly said to me: 'You are to serve my people.'  It was a seminal moment in my life.

For a number of reasons, I put the call away and forgot all about it as I built a career in Silicon Valley.  Years later, in my mid-30s it was renewed and confirmed by my clergy and many others. 

I was ordained to the Priesthood in 2003 and accepted a full-time call to serve a Parish in Buena Vista, Colo. in 2004.  So, we packed up our son and household and made the move – both leaving our careers behind."

Q. Who has been your biggest inspiration and why?

A. "In the early days of my ministry, my biggest inspiration was my Rector, Fr. Doug Weiss.  He taught me to always look for those places where the Holy Spirit could operate within my life and the Liturgy.  Eventually, he became a Bishop and is now retired.

"Nowadays, I find myself inspired by those around me:  the single parent that struggles and copes with life’s challenges; the kids that are making the right choices in the face of social pressures; and especially I am inspired by my wife, Karin – who wears many hats so that I am able to minister and be available to both the Parish and the community as a police/fire chaplain."

Q. When did you move to Turlock and when did it really start to feel like home?

A. "We moved here, with the addition of our daughter, on May 2, 2008.  We were blessed to be greeted warmly by our Parish, which gave us an instant community of friends.  It really did not take long to feel at home in Turlock – maybe 3 months.  Now we can’t imagine living and raising our family anywhere else."

Q. What do you look forward to the most each day as you go to work?

A. "Wondering how I am going to have the opportunity to help.  I look forward to the challenges and blessings of being available.  It really is an honor and sacred trust to be let into both the most joyful and challenging times in people’s lives; I never take that for granted. 

"However, I must admit that I occasionally enjoy those days that do not have appointments and when the phone doesn’t ring."

Q. What change would you like to see happen in Turlock in the next five years?

A. "On the one hand, if Turlock never grew another square inch – I’d be happy.  But the reality is that the community is growing, and I can appreciate that fact, too.  I would like to see Turlock continue to be a city which draws people for the right reasons.  A quality of life that is well-rounded: healthy, spiritually, safe for families and welcomes business stability. 

We need to be sure to retain our CSUS graduates with jobs and opportunities that allow them to make full use of their educations."

Q. What do you think Turlock should be most proud of?

A. "The fact that it really is the best city to live and raise a family in the San Joaquin Valley."

Q. What do you like to do for fun?

A. "Woodworking is something that relaxes and gives me time to use my hands.  I restore and have also built a number of bass guitars. "

Q. What was the last thing you read?

A. “'Practice Resurrection' by Eugene Peterson.  Next on the stack is 'Multiply' by Francis Chan. 

Q. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

A. "I hunt and fish, I like Japanese Samurai movies.  I listen, probably too loudly, to Prog Rock in my car.  I’m a regular guy."