Hello, I am Father Rick Reed, the Pastor of Saint Gabriels Chapel and online bookstore. Our aim is to meet and greet each customer with the golden rule of treating others as we would wish to be treated. I opened our online bookstore as an extension of our ministry to all! As a bookseller and book reader, I love books of all kinds and wish to spread this love of reading and learning to everyone I come in contact with.
I was not sure where to start when asked to do an autobiography. I sat down and prayed, and began to put some thoughts on paper. This is almost as scary as when I was asked to write my life story for chaplain training, for when I did as I was told, I thought thats nice, but what impact did all that have on your life? Books have shaped me and guided me throughout my life. Good and not-so-good books, but lots of them.
A little about myself. I am an Orthodox Catholic Priest, have been married to Carol for just over 33 years, have two grown children, and six grandchildren. I have been in the ministry for ten years now and serve as a Hospice chaplain as well as at two local hospitals as an on-call chaplain. I also serve as a priest at Holy Trinity Celtic Orthodox Church, and I am an online bookseller. In shortI am kinda busy. I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, was gone for many years, and then returned back about four years ago to take care of family.
I began a career in the medical field 35 years ago and have served as a surgical and x-ray technician, as well as in radiation health, emergency medical, and field medicine, including several administrative positions. For around 25 years I served in the US Military, retiring from the US Navy six years ago. I served in many different settings and capacities including Desert Shield/Storm; the first Gulf War in a US Marine Corps field hospital; staff positions; joint military; hospitals and clinics; as well as with a Marine Corps Expeditionary Unit Medical Planner.
I have two Masters Degrees as well as a smattering of experience just living and I am still wondering what will happen tomorrow. Okay, that really gives everyone a good picture of what I have done.
Over many years I collected books and soon developed my own large library. My collection included books on many different topics to include Christianity, Religion, Military, Survival, Medical, Marital Arts, Weapons, Wilderness, and History. This love for books grew into my dream of owning and running my own bookstore. Not being able to actually open a B&M store, I turned to online bookselling and have found excitement and my passion! I joined IOBA almost a year ago when I first started in the business. Oh, and yes my books moved with me over the years from place to place.
I guess you can say I have served my fellow man (and woman) all my life, and owning and running an online bookstore is just an extension of that service to my fellow humans; ones who have a thirst for reading and knowledge. One of the books I had to read in high school was Fahrenheit 451. I detested that book almost as much as I did 1984. I was once told by a teacher that she wanted to see me ten to twenty years down the road to see what I turned into, because I kept saying there had to be a better way and society was not going the way I thought it should. Well I am not sure how much I actually changed in these many years, though my love for reading and books grew and grew until now I am able to say they have become a major part of my life.
Let me please give you an example or two of how books have helped to change and enhance my life. I was raised Roman Catholic, and drifted from my faith. As study and reading took place, I eventually became an Ordained Pentecostal Minister ten years ago. Four years ago my faith and beliefs were challenged and I ended up in Sudan in East Africa for six months, assisting and teaching in a Bible College. After that I began to read and study. Eventually after careful study I returned to the Catholic faith, Old Catholic and then Orthodox Catholic. Without the written word, the Bible, and other early Church Fathers writings, I may never have had the opportunity to read and study. My whole life was changed.
While serving in the US Navy I had the chance to teach survival. Many men have written about their challenges to survive a variety of situations, from prisoner of war to wilderness and desert survival. These men put their experiences into words and print. I was able to read and study those works, becoming a better instructor and person in the process as I learned from their challenges and life-changing decisions.
Reading books has changed my life, and now I have the opportunity to share these wonderful books with the whole world, for the life of an online bookseller is truly global. The first book I sold was to a gentleman in Germany, and since then I have sold many books to customers overseas as well as throughout the entire USA.
Oh, I didnt say I could writethough that is another goal somedaybut this is my story!
Postscript since this was first submitted. After careful consideration and prayer, we have decided to relocate to New Port Richey, Florida. It has been a nice challenge to pack up our household goods and the bookstore and move 1100 miles. I have been told this is an excellent area in which to obtain books for my store. God has continued to bless us. As I have put things on vacation with the online listing sites, we have had four orders in the past two days. We didn’t want the customer to have to wait, so we searched, found the books (that was fun), shipped them out, and then resealed the boxes again. We will be all moved in and back online by the time you read this.
Father Rick Reed operates St. Gabriels Bookstore and can be contacted at http://www.christianbooksonline.us.