An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Chaplains host beach retreat for Airmen and families

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Monique Randall
  • 187 FW Public Affairs
Sixty 187th Fighter Wing family members and twelve singles attended a Personal Development Retreat and a Strong Bonds event during a weekend getaway September 24-26 in Point Clear, AL.

The 187th Fighter Wing Chaplain's office hosted the free events at the Grand Hotel Marriot Resort, Golf Club & Spa Resort. Chaplain (Maj) John Bailey, wing chaplain, Staff Sgt. Todd Hollis, chaplain's assistant, and Sharon Hubbert, Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager, planned and coordinated the trip.

Bailey led different exercises and sessions for the families, and taught from the book "7 Habits of Highly Effective Military Families" by Stephen Covey. The families also created family vision boards of what they stood for and what they want their families to look like. They received the book, a participant's guide, and a family calendar to create their own family plan.

"The retreat was a great opportunity for families in the wing to be able to come together with other military families," Bailey said. "All families face challenges but military families have an added challenge of managing situations and circumstances that are inherent to serving our great nation."

Maj Michael Tewalt, 187th Fighter Wing Judge Advocate General, attended the event with his family.

"The retreat far exceeded our expectations," Tewalt said in a survey after the trip. "It allowed us to talk about things we normally don't discuss. (I) enjoyed getting to know my brothers and sisters in the Guard

Chaplain (Capt) Benjamin Praytor and Chaplain (Capt) Tyler Cox led the singles in activities throughout the weekend and covered topics including communication skills, active listening, relationship skills for both professional and personal development, and how to find a compatible mate.

"The class time focused on learning better ways to communicate, understanding stress, learning what each person's personality really says about them, then understanding how our personalities and outlooks affect our relationships," Praytor said. "Everyone really enjoyed the class time as well as the free time. It was a great balance and the location was amazing. The skills that each person picked up during this training can prove to be an invaluable resource for them in the future."

Outside of the scheduled group events, the participants were able to explore the area and the resort's amenities.  Some of the opportunities available to the airmen and families were jet skiing, golfing, enjoying the spa, swimming at the pool, playing bingo, breaking a sweat at the tennis courts, or exploring the white sand beaches of Alabama's famed Gulf Coast.

"I would say it was an absolutely beautiful place, truly a hidden gem," said Staff Sgt. Todd Hollis. 

On the Saturday evening of the retreat, Tech. Sgt. Samantha Johnson, 187th Fighter Wing recruiter, had a wedding on the beach, where she married her civilian partner, Eric Marquette. Bailey performed the ceremony.

The chaplains also provided counseling and prayer for some of the families and individuals upon request. On Sunday, the chaplains held an optional worship service.

The 187th Fighter Wing Chaplain's Office will be hosting another retreat later this year. Additional details will be provided at a later date.