NEWS | May 11, 2011

Clergy Appreciation Day - Local pastors visit JB CHS

By Airman 1st Class Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Ten clergymen from the local area visited Joint Base Charleston to participate in Clergy Appreciation Day, May 10 on JB CHS - Air Base.

The clergymen, accompanied by JB CHS military chaplains, enjoyed prayers, a light breakfast, a tour of the chapel, a panel discussion, lunch, a tour of a C-17 and a dignified transfer demonstration.

"The purpose of this event was to invite local pastors to spend time with us, show them what we do as military chaplains and to build a relationship with them," said Chaplain (Capt.) Aaron Meadows, from the 628th Air Base Wing Chapel. "Local pastors meet the spiritual needs of many service members and it's important for us to know what resources they have to offer. We don't have every religion at our chapel, but knowing what's available in the community, we can point service members in the right direction."

The day started with an invocation by Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Brown, 628 ABW chaplain and JB CHS senior chaplain, who then provided an introduction to the ministry provided to service members and their families.

"We were able to familiarize the pastors with the ministry we provide and the specific stressors that service members face on a day-to-day basis," Chaplain Meadows said. "It gave them a scope on what it is like to be in the military."

Later in the day the clergymen and the Chaplains discussed issues, problems and their solutions during a panel discussion about the military lifestyle.

"We talked about how we can come together as a community, how we can promote different events such as retreats and how we can help with spiritual problems that military members face," Chaplain Meadows said. "We opened up the floor for questions and most pastors wanted to know about deployments, suicide and what we have in place to prevent them."

After lunch the clergymen made their way to the flight line to tour the inside of a C-17. The tour was lead by Capt. Tabitha Rand, Blue Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge from the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. She discussed the different capabilities of the C-17, its vital role in today's mission and answered questions about the aircraft.

Chaplain (Capt.) Leif Espeland, from the 628 ABW, and members of the JB CHS Honor Guard, ended the day with a dignified transfer demonstration inside of the C-17.

"Even though the dignified transfer was only a demonstration, it was monumental and powerful," said retired Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Charles Baldwin, the Air Force Chief of Chaplains from 2004 - 2008. "Thank you for opening the door to local pastors and helping us understand the ministry that the military does to help support our service members."