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Resilient Airmen, families made possible by ART

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady
  • 480th ISR Wing Public Affairs

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The 693rd Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group’s Airmen Resiliency Team members live by the saying, “Hard work always pays off.” For the ART, their payoff is seeing resilient Airmen and families.

Comprised of mental health, physical medicine, and Chaplain Corps professionals embedded directly within ISR units, the ART provides support and care to warfighters. This support isn’t limited to making Airmen ready for work, but ready for their personal lives as well.

“There’s more to life than work,” said Tech. Sgt. Lavar J. Griffin, 693rd ISRG non-commissioned officer in charge of religious affairs. “I like to present opportunities for them to meet others and experience things throughout life, while learning from the many lessons we have tied to our programs that will help build spiritual resiliency. It’s all about optimizing and enhancing mission effectiveness through sustained engagement, superior education, and consultation prevention services.”

One way the 693rd ISRG ART resiliency programs provide for Airmen is through supporting families with events like marriage seminars and retreats here. The team hosted a three-day, two-night family retreat for 22 families, 40 adults and 42 children, to Disneyland Paris, Aug. 23-25.

To accommodate this, the ART coordinated with the air base and the 700th Contracting Squadron’s, along with Disneyland Paris staff members, to turn this dream into a reality for the Airmen and their families.

“This is my second resiliency event, and I’m grateful that this opportunity was gifted to my family,” said Diana Sego, military spouse. “Military life has a unique set of stressors, and I welcome any opportunity to take a break from those, as well as take advantage of family bonding opportunities.”

In preparation for the event, Griffin sifted through hundreds of applications, worked in conjunction with squadron commanders and first sergeants, and spent many late nights to ensure event success.

“Our hope is that families within our group develop social skills, but more importantly, higher self-esteem,” said Griffin of the retreats, adding that the curriculum the chaplain provides can encourage children, improve work performance, and stimulate parent/child communication.

Other avenues for resilience the ART provides are retreat events for single Airmen and team building activities, such as senior leadership retreats, historical day trips, skydiving, paintball, and laser tag.

“This is an amazing opportunity for new Airmen to meet other people in the squadron,” said Airman 1st Class Jake Munoz, 693rd ISRG. “Meeting people and getting to experience new things is awesome, but doing so with a group of peers makes it that much better.”

All the hours spent coordinating events doesn’t bother the ART members, especially since the outcome increases the joy, knowledge, and strength of the Airmen and families.   

“The most rewarding part of the trip is when you can see the transformation within Airmen and others who attend,” said Griffin. “It reassures me that what I do has a purpose.”