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NEWS | July 9, 2013

Langley Chapel's Single Airmen Ministry: Providing spiritual care to Airmen

By Airman 1st Class Kimberly Nagle 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

For some Airmen, joining the military and living in the dormitories may be their first time away from home, and being geographically separated from family and friends and surrounded by new faces may be difficult.

Langley Airmen have a way to maintain their spiritual readiness while enjoying the benefits of social environments; luckily a prior-service couple, in conjunction with Langley Air Force Base Va., Chapel, helps bring Airmen together.

The Langley Chapel Single Airmen Ministry program is sponsored by the Protestant Chapel Ministry to help support the morale and spiritual lives of Airmen living in the dormitories, offering an opportunity to connect with a community of believers who are interested in religious discussion and Bible study, said Larry Blakely, Single Airmen Ministry coordinator.

"The Single Airmen Ministry provides a foundational strategy and guiding principles to deliver ministry and spiritual care to Airmen," said Chaplain (Capt.) Michael McDonald, 633rd Air Base Wing chaplain.

Larry and Brender "BB" Blakely, the LCSAM coordinators, have worked with Airmen ministries for as long as they can remember. They see this as a means of giving back by serving Airmen while positively impacting their lives.

"We see ourselves as a type of 'sounding board,' someone the Airmen can talk to," said Mrs. Blakely.

"The LCSAM is a multiplier program that provides an instant grounding, based on their personal core values. From that, they are able to be good wingman to help other new Airmen who are trying to establish themselves in their new job, home, military," said McDonald. "Airmen are able to find friends at the LCSAM in an environment that may avoid some of the unhealthy influences."

Airman 1st Class Brian King, 438th Supply Chain Operations Squadron F-16 mission capability servicer, feels LCSAM gives Airmen living in the dormitories an opportunity to get out of their rooms and do something entertaining for themselves.

"The people involved with LCSAM are caring and compassionate," said King. "[The program] impacts me by helping with my morality and allowing me to meet new people."

Furthermore, the program hosts events and activities including trips and possible volunteer opportunities, such as an upcoming trip to Shenandoah Valley National Park over Labor Day Weekend. The trip will include food, a scavenger hunt and more.

Through these activities and the program itself, the Chapel aims to meet the spiritual needs of Airmen.

"In addition to equipping our Airmen for battle, the LCSAM helps forge a wingman culture, develop leadership skills, encourages Airmen to build healthy relationships, bolsters accountability networks among peers, and reinforces Air Force core values," said McDonald.

The LCSAM hosts meetings on base in the office located on the first floor of Boots Hall, one of the dormitories on Langley.

In addition to the meetings on base, the Blakelys have opened up their home as another meeting place and a "hospitality house," offering home-cooked meals, games, Bible study and movies for the Airmen.

For Airmen like King, finding a place that gives family-like support helps ease the transition during his time at Langley.

Through ministry support and the spiritual journey of Airmen, the LCSAM builds leaders of faith and moral character, promotes activities that help Airmen develop healthy relationships and valued service to others.