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Chaplains taking care of Airmen, families always

Chaplains taking care of Airmen, families always

Elisha Patterson, Scott Balcao, Emily Schultz and Jordan Fobes, all Amazing gRace participants, roll a tractor tire on the running track at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, May 4, 2017. The 50th Space Wing Chaplain’s Office hosts events like these that focus on building relationships among Airmen and increasing resiliency. The date for the next Amazing gRace will be announced in Summer 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dennis Rogers)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 50th Space Wing chaplain’s office is emphasizing the importance of taking care of Airmen and families, always, following a recent 50th SW commander’s call.

“During Col. [Jennifer] Grant’s last all-call, I saw that priority and it spurred a few thoughts on how I think we as a team can hit that mark,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Portmann Werner, 50th SW Chaplain.

He explained in the chaplain’s office, it is their day-to-day job to take care of Airmen and their families. However, what some people may not stop and think about is each person should be taking care of the person next to them.

“We love what we do here because we focus on this every second of every day,” Werner said. “It’s important we realize that while, yes, the chaplain’s office and others on base take care of Airmen and their families, it is a team effort; it’s being a good wingman.

“You can’t think ‘someone else will do it,’ he continued. “It’s like in CPR class they teach you to command someone to go call 911. If you don’t, everyone is going to assume someone else will do it.”

To be a good wingman and ultimately fulfill the wing’s priority, Werner said it’s critical Airmen understand the importance of the spiritual pillar of Comprehensive Airman Fitness.

“I think the three other pillars are very easy to define,” he said. “The problem is a lot of people don’t know how to define spirituality for themselves. In the CAF Air Force instruction, as an example of spirituality, they list the core values.”

Tech. Sgt. Jacqulyn Rider, 50th SW non-commissioned officer-in-charge of chapel operations, expanded on the chaplain’s viewpoint.

“When CAF first rolled out, I didn’t think the spiritual pillar would be helpful to me because I’m not a religious person and I thought it meant religion,” she said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that. You have to ask yourself, ‘what is your core? What drives you?’ That is your spirituality.”

Rider pointed to relationships as the key to building a strong spiritual pillar.

“I don’t think there’s any other pillar of CAF that focuses so heavily on building relationships,” Rider said. “I’m not saying spiritual is more important, but it seems to be critically intertwined and significantly enhances all the others. Think of physical fitness-you can go lift weights, but if you’re doing it by yourself, you’re not building relationships.”

The chaplain’s office said one way they try to take care of Airmen is by getting out and meeting people, whether that be at events or dropping in on a unit.

“We want to build relationships and rapport,” he said. “We can’t just sit in our office waiting for people to come to us. The same is true for each Airman on this base. Get out and engage with your peers. Waiting until someone is in crisis isn’t the time to try and build trust with them. That’s the time when you want them to already trust you so you can help them.”

Werner agreed with his NCO.

“We don’t hold events to meet a quota,” Werner said. “We truly care. We show that by putting on these retreats, geek lunches and Easter egg hunts. It’s about building relationships between us and Airmen, and Airmen among themselves. Sure, it may be a little easier for us to focus on that because it’s literally our job, but every person should have that mindset of caring. That’s how you take care of each other.”

The chaplain team also addressed the possible misconception people may have of the nature of chapel-hosted events.

“Our events are not religion-based,” Werner said. “During retreats, we hold educational classes teaching how to deal with life issues. You’re not going to be proselytized.”

While emphasizing the non-religious theme of events, Werner assured they will provide religious support to anyone who asks.

“We’re not going to preach at you at any of these events, but if you want to know where you can go to get religious leadership from any faith, we’ll provide you that information.”

There are a full slate of events planned for 2018 (events without full dates are to be determined):
- Geek Lunch - every Tuesday
- Marriage Workshop - Feb. 8
- Ash Wednesday - Feb. 14
- Airman Egg Hunt - March
- Resiliency Picnics - Summer 2018
- Leadership Appreciation Luncheon - Summer 2018
- Angel Tree for Schriever/Ellicott - December 2018
- Christmas Eve Candlelight Service - December 2018
- Marriage Retreats
- Family Retreats
- Singles Retreat
- Amazing gRace (adults and kids versions)

“We want to get people out to these events because, as a team, this is how we can work on our resiliency and take care of each other,” Rider said. “More events will pop up and we will put out more information as time gets closer, but we highly encourage everyone to be on the lookout. You don’t want to miss these.”

For more information on chapel-hosted events, call 567-3705.