Vandenberg chapel women’s appreciation luncheon combats isolation, fosters camaraderie
By Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 02, 2014
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Vandenberg Chapel staff recently worked in tandem with Stonecroft Ministries to provide an opportunity for Team V females to find fellowship and camaraderie.
Sandee Lester, the spouse of a retired Air Force Pilot and the event guest speaker, candidly relayed the trials and tribulations of being an Air Force spouse.
"Sandy spoke honestly about what it was like growing up and marrying an Air Force pilot," said Capt. Kyle Roehrig, acting 30th Space Wing deputy chaplain. "No matter what she did there was always someone else taking away the excitement in their marriage...she said that her husband had a mistress and her name was the United States Air Force. She spoke about needing that spiritual contact and how she found it through a church they got involved with in Germany. That's where she started playing the piano again, something she had given up through the course of their marriage. The church members helped her to find community and through their faith, support, care, she found a way to reconnect with her husband."
Some also believe that just talking about the struggles related to being a military spouse can be the conduit for a life changing event.
One of the key things that we want to provide through events like this is a means to connect," said Roehrig. "Military families, especially families that are feeling isolated, need the change not only to connect with other base members but to people in the local community who understand as well. The best way to break through that isolation is to find ways to relate them to other people. Events like this let them feel less isolated and connect to one another. Bringing Stonecroft Ministries on-board created an environment where women could connect to women from the local community who want to care for and support any woman if they need it."
Some found that just hearing about other families' struggles with military life was empowering.
"I think most of us feel like we're the only ones going through struggles, no matter what stage in your relationship you're in -- and you feel alone," said Katie Thompson, Vandenberg chapel Catholic parish coordinator. "So this [event] is something that shines a light and says, 'Hey everyone! I'm struggling, I'm ok and I'll talk to you if you need to. It makes you feel part of something bigger, and helps you to realize that you're not alone."
For those interested in hearing Lester speak, please call the Vandenberg Chapel at 606-5773 and sign-up for the Protestant Women of the Chapel Spring Retreat slated for Friday, May 2, from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.