The Rev. Father William J. ''Bill'' Bartz calls them ''holy moments.''
They are the times a Marine or sailor walks into his office and needs to talk.
''When confiding in me, I understand it as a holy moment,'' said Navy Chaplain Capt. Bartz, a Greek Orthodox priest.
''The chaplain offers something that nobody else does and that is confidentiality,'' said Bartz, 59, who grew up in Akron and recently was chosen by fellow Navy chaplain colleagues as recipient of the 2010 John H. Craven Servant Leadership Award.
''They come to us and they can say whatever they want, and we keep it in confidence. That is a tremendous help for the men and women who serve our country,'' he said.
The award Bartz received is peer nominated and aimed at someone who epitomizes the Chaplain Corps motto, ''Called to Serve.''
It is named for Navy Chaplain John H. Craven, who served during
World War II and the Korean War and was referred to as ''John the Baptist'' by Marines with whom he served.
Bartz, the son of the late Rev. Father George N. Bartz, longtime priest at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron who died in 2008, and Zafera Bartz, was commissioned into the Navy Reserve in 1977. He was ordained as a Greek Orthodox priest in 1982 and became an active-duty chaplain in 1984.
A 1969 graduate of Firestone High School, he attended the University of Akron for two years, then realized he was called to become a priest.
His father's godson had spoken to him about becoming a priest in 1971, but from spring until early summer that year Bartz prayed about the idea and ''debated if I was worthy and searched my soul, asking if I could serve God in this capacity.''
That month, while hanging out with David Crawford in Akron, his friend told Bartz that ''he could see me as a Greek Orthodox priest and that I had a good heart,'' Bartz said.
He knew what to do.
Bartz said he felt an inner peace and ''God's loving grace.''
Bartz transferred to Hellenic College in Brookline, Mass., and finished his undergraduate studies in philosophy and religion. He later received his master of divinity degree from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, also in Brookline, in 1978.
He and his wife, Emily Mamalis Bartz, have three children: Joanna Nicolaides of Sarasota, Fla.; Maria Bartz of Richmond, Va.; and George William Bartz, a senior at George Mason University.
Bartz plans to retire from the Navy in May and will take a job as chancellor of the Metropolis of Detroit, a job he said is like being chief of staff.
He said it was ''humbling and surprising'' to get the award.
Having served in Iraq two times and for two years in Okinawa, Japan, his current assignment is command chaplain of the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.
Another highlight of his career was when he helped establish a Chaplain Corps for the military in the Republic of Georgia with the Patriarch of Georgia.
But the most rewarding part of his job, he said, was helping sailors and Marines.
''I am deeply honored with the trust that they give to me to listen to their inner thoughts and/or experiences,'' he said. ''These Marines open their souls, allowing themselves to be vulnerable and trusting the assistance they have sought.''
Navy chaplains serve Marines, sailors and members of the Coast Guard.
When asked what he has learned as a Navy chaplain, Bartz replied: ''These Marines are so resilient. They bend but do not break.
''Even when some Marines may need a little more time to recover, they seek to return to contribute as Marines, or as husbands and wives, or as fathers or mothers, or as sons or daughters.''
The hardest part of his job as a Navy chaplain, he said, was leaving his wife and children during deployments. In spite of that hardship, however, his ministry was most fruitful during those times.
Bartz recalls traveling via convoy to a forward operating base in Iraq to celebrate Divine Liturgy and offer holy communion to the Marines.
''When one Marine received holy communion, he had tears rolling down his eyes,'' he said.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or email@example.com.