MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
Some shifts are packed full of stress and some never seem to end; Airmen are accustomed to coming home drained and exhausted.
That’s when the 35th Fighter Wing chaplain corps steps in to give the Nation's heroes an opportunity to rest on the four resiliency pillars.
Last Saturday, Jan. 28-29, the chapel took a group of Airmen skiing and snowboarding free of charge.
“We wanted to help the Airmen with heightened stress conditions in their career,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Tatum, a 35th FW chaplain assistant. “We are trying to help people practice resiliency instead of just talking about it.”
Along with helping members channel their spiritual strength, they also focused on the physical, mental and social pillars of resiliency.
“If you are not resilient in your daily life, you are not ready to accomplish the mission,” Tatum said. “Bad things happen to all people and having resiliency enables them to work through those things, allowing the mission to proceed.”
The trip provided an escape from everyday worries for personnel from nearly every career field including medical.
Airman 1st Class Katelin Napolitano, a 35th Medical Operations Squadron urgent care clinic technician, said for a snowboarder like herself, it can be challenging to organize trips with friends or coworkers because she works 12-hour shifts.
“It is nice [the Chapel] decided to put this together for all of us,” Napolitano said. “I definitely felt relieved by having a trip already provided and planned without having to fight for open slots. I enjoyed the fact we were able to go with other enlisted personnel and just be ourselves.”
Airmen showed their resiliency in various ways throughout the weekend trip as they partook in various activities.
“Some Airmen physically tested their winter sports capabilities on the mountain,” Tatum said. “While others exercised their spirituality by joining in a morning sermon, provided by one of the wing chaplains.”
Napolitano said it provided a great opportunity to meet other Airmen even though they work in completely different squadrons.
“I never really see maintenance personnel come into the medical group and when they do it’s only for a short time,” Napolitano said. “If it wasn’t for this trip, I never would have met people from the 35th Maintenance Squadron.”
Napolitano said the event was successful because she could relax and make plans for future retreats, allowing her to intermingle even more and make schedules that worked for herself and her new friends in maintenance.
“Allowing an open dialogue trip helped bring the Airmen together,” Tatum said. “While practicing resiliency, they can bolster their day-to-day readiness by supporting each other in stressful times.”
For more information on resiliency trips like this one, contact the chapel at DSN 226-4630.