FORT BLISS, Texas--The 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery's unit ministry team held a prayer luncheon Dec. 4, which included El Paso Mayor John Cook as a guest, at the Lancer's Club East.

The event was one of the unit's forward-thinking ministry programs designed by Lt. Col. Greg Brady, battalion commander of 5th Bn., 52 ADA, targeting moral leadership and religious diversity.

"Our battalion ministry team ... established an aggressive command master religious plan to achieve our goals of long-term readiness," said Brady.

Cook spoke to the servicemembers about the importance of achieving personal goals and following through with their dreams and ambitions. He emphasized the importance of embracing one's faith and also provided unique and inspirational leadership advice.

"I thought it was great that although he is a very busy man, Mayor Cook could take some time out of his busy schedule and share some of his great wisdom with the Soldiers and I," said Capt. Brad Bugado, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5-52 ADA.

Cook said his previous service in the Army helped him to connect with the Soldiers. Several in attendance said his stories of service to his country instilled them with pride and patriotism. Cook provided moral guidance in song form by playing his guitar - a common occurrence during the mayor's speaking engagements.

"Mayor Cook presented a refreshing model of being a selfless servant," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jack Herron of the 11th ADA Bde. "It's even more wonderful to believe how such goodness and service can carry forward into public life and politics. He is an inspiration for Soldiers."

The prayer luncheon with Cook helped build unit cohesion, said Chaplain (Capt.) Samuel Olmos of 1st Bn., 77th Armor Regiment.

"The 5-52 [unit ministry team] is doing a fantastic job of introducing outstanding guests like Mayor Cook," said Olmos. "These events build up Soldier morale, create an atmosphere of unity amongst the unit, and give Soldiers an opportunity in a different light. Hoorah for breaking the monotony."

The City of El Paso Museum and Cultural Affairs Department also provided music that featured Ellen Wilson and Armin Harrison.

"The luncheon was a well-organized event that allowed our Soldiers the opportunity to experience fellowship in a different environment," said 1st Lt. Jennifer Salinero, the assistant S3 for 5-52 ADA. "Mayor Cook's inspirational words imparted a deep sense of patriotism and gratitude to our men and women in uniform."

"As part of our annual religious support plan, today's prayer luncheon was an outstanding opportunity to have the mayor of El Paso, Mr. John Cook, share his personal views on the importance of spiritual fitness and moral leadership with the Soldiers of the 'Fighting Deuce' Battalion," said Brady.