Wolf Pack chapel named best in PACAF
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- -- The 8th Fighter Wing chapel recently won the Pacific Air Forces 2012 Small Chapel Award at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.
The Robert P. Town award is an annual designation within the Chaplain Corps, and each command chooses a nominee to compete against each others for the 'best' in the Air Force. Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Sherrol James, 8th Fighter Wing, wing chaplain said they are keeping their fingers crossed.
"The award recognizes our chapel for what we have done 'above and beyond' the requirements each and every day to fulfill the mission of the Wolf Pack, and how we manage our resources," James said. "It looks at the ministry and the programs we offer and how we take care of our warriors...how we help build up their morale and keep them resilient."
The 8th FW chapel consists of four religious support teams. A chaplain and chaplain assistant make up a team. But with the chapel short one assistant, they have to do more with their limited resources and manpower.
"We were given $17,000 to conduct marriage retreats, but as you know we have no couples or families here, so we had to be creative," James said. "We had Wi-Fi installed in our offices so members here could participate in marriage counseling via Skype with their spouses in the states, which is thinking out of the box."
Some of the chapel's accomplishments include: conducting 22,000 visits culminating 3,000 visitation hours; 1,200 counseling sessions and 24 suicide interventions. The chapel team also provided 6,463 free meals served by 123 volunteers from various organizations across the base who cook meals every Friday night as part of the chapel's overall Airmen morale and welfare program.
"When we put all that in the package and the fact that we have the Sonlight Inn - the Airman Ministry Service, which is a benchmark in the Air Force, I think it took us over the top," James said."
Chaplain (Maj.) Robert J. Schobert, 8th Fighter Wing, deputy wing chaplain is thankful for the Wolf Pack's volunteerism and recognizes the award is truly a reflection of their commitment and hard work. While the chapel staff is small, their body of volunteers in religious programming, community outreach and at the SonLight Inn are a force multiplier that truly enables them to touch many lives here at Kunsan and in the local community.
"The Wolf Pack chapel has won this award on numerous occasions; the level of warrior care that the Chaplain Corps offers at Kunsan has been outstanding for many years," Schobert said. "Therefore, I honestly wasn't surprised to learn that our programs were recognized this year as well."
But when I heard the news, I was immediately humbled and filled with gratitude. Our staff is so grateful that we work with so many wonderfully talented and dedicated volunteers who help us to run our programs," he said.
For Chaplain James, the award is a reflection of her team's ability to work well together and have fun doing what they do.
"When we won the award, I screamed in excitement," she said. "I am just excited that we won during our time here. I think our chaplains and their assistants work hard and they deserve the recognition."