Breakfast remembers fallen Warriors, Families
May 24, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Dozens of guests joined Brig. Gen. Dan Hughes, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; APG Garrison Commander Col. Gregory McClinton and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin for a solemn tribute to service members lost while serving the nation during the Veterans and Survivors Breakfast at the Main Post Chapel May 15.
Guests included APG Soldiers and civilians, veterans, Gold Star mothers, wives, Family members and Survivors. Chaplain (Capt.) Wyne Hutchings, Garrison pastoral coordinator, led off the morning service with a message from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
He counseled listeners that "patience is the art of hoping."
"For everything there is a time and waiting for that time is not easy," he said, noting that oftentimes, "man cannot fathom what God has done."
With the observance, the installation sends the message that it stands by survivors as they seek closure, recovery and resilience, Hutchings said.
"May the Lord give us the strength to wait with you as well and help you attain the art of hope."
Annette Sanders, Army Community Service, Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) coordinator and Capt. Maritzabel Mustafaa, HHC Garrison commander, organized the event.
Program highlights included a Prayer of Petition by Chaplain (Capt.) Patrick Hester of the 22D Chemical Battalion (TE); a solo by Chaplain (Maj.) Young Kim, CECOM, and the invocation by Installation Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jerry Owens.
LeeAnn Masters provided music on piano and Sgt. Antonio Bell gave a scripture reading.
Afterward, guests breakfasted on scrambled eggs, home fries, sausage, biscuits, coffee and juice in the chapel Fellowship Hall, and then toured and posed for photos in the chapel's Harbor of Grace Courtyard and Gazebo, which was dedicated to surviving Family members last year.
Sanders thanked organizers and attendees, particularly representatives from the Military & Family Life Consultant Program; a program that offers short term non-medical counseling services to active, guard and reserves service members and their families.
"The great thing about MFLC is they can meet wherever they like, it doesn't have to be on post," Sanders said, "and they offer highly-qualified counseling for adults and youth."
Survivors from Fort George G. Meade led by Patricia Jackson, SOS coordinator also attended the program. Jackson said that area survivors are welcome to attend Fort Meade functions.
"We want Survivors to know that they are not alone. We recognize the loss of their Family members and we are there for them," she said.
Sandra Winans, A Gold Star Mother with the Fort Meade groups said it was her first trip to APG.
"It was a nice program; I really enjoyed the chaplain's message," said Winans a volunteer with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She said for her, helping Wounded Warriors has been "fulfilling and uplifting."
"They're as young as 19 or 20; just kids," she said. "It's uplifting to see the counselors working hard to give some of what they lost back."
Peggy Fergerson of Annapolis said she intends to return to APG next year.
"I never even knew about a group for survivors; then someone introduced me to Pat [Jackson]," Fergerson said. "She's wonderful. She got me involved to stay."
Mustafaa expressed thanks to Jamal Lawson, a CPAC human resources specialist who provided soothing music on keyboard during the breakfast.
Lawson said he was more than happy to add his talents to the program.
"It's important that we use the gifts God gives us, so I was happy to be a part of this to show my support for Soldier's and Family members."
Hero on the Home Front
Carol Roddy, the out-going president of the Fort Meade area Gold Star Mothers Chapter was the Hero on the Home Front for the Veterans and Survivor Breakfast. Roddy is the mother of Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class David S. Roddy who died in September 2011 while conducting combat operations in Iraq. She also is the new Maryland Gold Star Mothers state president.