Covenant CEO responds to Sonnier murder - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Covenant CEO responds to Sonnier murder

Covenant Health Systems President and CEO Richard Parks Covenant Health Systems President and CEO Richard Parks

Covenant Health Systems President and CEO Richard Parks remembers his colleague, Dr. Joseph Sonnier, as a generous and down-to-earth man. Parks says his chief pathologist was a talented doctor who was highly respected at the hospital.

"He was also a person with not much of a ego and he treated everybody the same. And I think that's what drew a lot of people to him. He had a way with people that was respectful and he had a great sense of humor," Parks said.

Parks along with other Covenant employees traveled to Shreveport, LA on Monday to attend Sonnier's funeral. Parks says the family was grateful to see his colleagues travel over 500 miles for the funeral.

"I was pleased to see several other folks from Covenant there. It was nice to be able to meet his family, his three sons and his mother and his brothers. So that's good to meet them and explain to them what Joe had meant to our ministry here and what he had done for this community. I think his mom really appreciated that," Parks said.

Parks, who says he had dinner with Sonnier just before his death, recalls his friend as an adventurous man who lived life to the fullest. He said Sonnier enjoyed dancing and traveling, and he recently flew to Paris.

"He was quite the expert on any range of subjects, wine, perfume, really eclectic interests that Joe had, that's what made him such an interesting guy. He could talk about anything with just about anyone," Parks said.

Sonnier made an huge impact on the entire Covenant community, including the man who shined his shoes.

"I didn't realize Joe was his best customers and Joe would give him shoes to shine so that he could make a living. He gave him shoes everyday," Parks said.

Parks says the Covenant family is still in a state of shock, but that the recent arrests will help bring closure to those who were closest to him.

"When death comes this sudden to someone you know, you really don't think you're not going to speak with them again. So I still struggle to think that I'm not going to talk to Joe again. So that's been difficult," Parks said.

Covenant is planning a memorial service for those who couldn't attend the funeral in Louisiana. The date and time are TBA.

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