Providing the presence of holy
By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Schofield, 136AW/PA
/ Published October 31, 2010
31 Oct 2010 -- Anyone who has ever deployed knows just how stressful an experience it can be.
But for any one of those deployed Airmen there is a place they can turn to for support: the chaplain's office.
During a deployment, the overall role of the chaplain's office is to "provide the presence of holy," said Tech. Sgt. Kenny Hampton, 136AW chaplain's assistant. Completing that mission includes providing a multitude of services and resources to any and all deployed Airmen, he continued.
Ever flexible, the chaplain's office routinely conducts surveys and questionnaires to determine the exact wishes and needs of the individual deployed Airmen, explained Hampton.
To meet the specifically spiritual needs of the Airmen, chaplains and their assistants can provide anything from a traditional worship service, to a small home study group, to individual prayer support, he continued.
But providing support for the deployed Airmen means more than just strictly religious support, explained Hampton. "One of our primary functions is to be a confidential ear for anyone who needs support, advice, or just someone to vent at for a few minutes."
"As a Chaplain," said Chaplain (Maj.) Xolani Kacela, "any Airman can come to me and talk about any issue or problem they are facing with the assurance that under no circumstances will our conversation be shared with anyone or have any effect on the person's career, reputation or duties."
And there is no issue too small for the chaplain's office, said Hampton. "We help people with all sorts of issues - family problems at home, loneliness or stress from the deployment circumstances, mental trauma from the rigors of war-time operations - you name it, we're willing to help you get through it."
Although the personal faith of each chaplain varies, all chaplains have been trained and have access to resources for virtually all religions, said Kacela, allowing anyone in the chaplain's office to provide assistance and understanding to anyone, regardless of their beliefs.
And there is never any need to feel hesitation before contacting a Chaplain, said Hampton. "It's a joy for me any time I can reach out and give a real sense of hope to someone who's hurting, be it physically, spiritually or emotionally."