Father William Hultberg, retiring Spiritual Advisor of the leading addiction treatment and behavioral healthcare not-for-profit Caron Treatment Centers, has been honored with the 2015 Father Joseph C. Martin Professional Excellence Award by Father Martin’s Ashley. The Father Martin Award is presented every year to an individual who has made significant contributions to the addiction treatment community while supporting the 12 Step principles with personal passion and commitment.
For the past 32 years at Caron, Father Hultberg, who is affectionately known as “Father Bill,” has offered hope and healing for individuals and families struggling with addiction. He has continuously integrated the principles of the 12 Steps in his lectures and Sunday morning chapel services, referring to the Steps as the spiritual foundation that “gives you back your soul.” His commitment to helping those struggling with addiction is evident in the amount of time, compassion, and service he has dedicated over the years.
“Father Bill has the kind of spiritual energy that leaves a lasting impression on those who have the privilege to meet him,” says CEO of Caron Treatment Centers, Doug Tieman, “For over three decades, Father Bill has profoundly changed and positively impacted thousands of lives at Caron. The Father Martin Award symbolizes his unwavering dedication to this community and his remarkable ability to reignite the passion for life that so many individuals lose to addiction.”
Father Bill was ordained in 1962 but his life took an unexpected turn when he received commission in the Navy and took his first active tour of duty in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1968. After Cuba, he served with the Marines in the Vietnam War as Navy Chaplain, ministering to soldiers in combat zones. As an active duty Chaplain in the U.S. Army, he received four Meritorious Service Medals for his work in developing and implementing alcohol and drug prevention programs.
Like many war veterans, Father Bill struggled with alcoholism after his return from service and entered treatment at Caron in 1973. After treatment, Father Bill began a new life in recovery that changed the course of his ministry. He started work at Caron in 1984 as an addiction counselor, was then promoted to Director of Pastoral Care, and finally went on to be Caron’s Spiritual Advisor.
The Father Martin Award was presented on August 2, 2015 at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) in St. Louis, Missouri.