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Oklahoma hospital chaplain has been 'rock' through daughter's surgeries, family says

In addition to being chaplain, Danny Cavett is the founder, namesake and director of Camp Cavett, which he created in 1977 for chronically ill children. Overall, there are about a half-dozen camps now, he said.
by Bryan Painter Published: June 23, 2013

Danny Cavett doesn't like to watch people travel rough roads alone.

Jaycee Jo Elliott is only 28 but has undergone about 30 heart-related surgeries and procedures. That number includes eight heart surgeries at The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center where Cavett, 64, has served as a chaplain since 1977.

“I've got to tell you this, but I'm going to cry,” said Joanie Goss, Elliott's mother. “Before every single surgery Jaycee has had there at Children's, he comes in and prays with us. And not just then, but we also knew that he was praying for her all the time.

“He always comes and checks on us. If they come out during surgery and say, ‘We have found a problem,' he has stopped right there and prayed with us.”

Cavett's official title is director of pastoral care at OU Medical System. But most people shorten that to “friend.”

Took a pay cut

Early on, Cavett served as a youth pastor in Oklahoma City. Then he went to Shattuck, in western Oklahoma, as a pastor. While in that community, Cavett also served as a substitute teacher at the public schools.

But then he was offered and took a pay cut to accept the chaplain's position at Children's.

“I knew that's where God wanted me because the whole thing then started rolling along,” Cavett said. “This was a place where we could make a real impact on the kids, on their learning and on their character.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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