SDDC religious team looks to forge new bonds, strengthen resilience
By Alyssa CrockettDecember 10, 2020
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command’s Religious Support team is focusing on building relationships and resiliency, starting with a recent visit to the command’s 834th Transportation Battalion located on the Military Ocean Terminal in Concord, California.Chaplain Maj. Jeffrey Hicks and Staff Sgt. Jeffery Grimes met and interacted with the Surface Warriors, conducted Suicide Prevention and Substance Abuse training and offered spiritual resources to personnel.“Based on this unit’s location, they have been significantly affected by COVID restrictions, civil unrest, wildfires and many other challenges throughout the year,” said Hicks. “During our time at MOTCO, it was important that we listened with respect for greater understanding, placed value on experiences of all others and responded with encouragement, personal and professional care. We listened, spoke, shared, cried, laughed, sang and prayed.”This is the SDDC Religious Support team’s primary mission. They meet the spiritual needs of Surface Warriors and their families by conducting services, and building resiliency, relationships and morale through counseling, conversations and face-to-face meetings.“With both of us being fairly new to SDDC, it was important for us to start working on a foundational relationship with those we support,” said Grimes. “Technology has enabled us to be able to reach out and talk with people all over the world, but being face-to-face brings comfort to others.”Grimes arrived at SDDC in October. He serves as the Religious Affairs non-commissioned officer and assists Hicks with religious support.“Adding Staff Sgt. Grimes to the SDDC Religious Support team has multiplied our impact here at headquarters and throughout the brigades and battalions,” Hicks said.The Surface Warriors at MOTCO felt the team’s visit was invaluable.“We gained some much needed resiliency training and spiritual bonding,” said Sgt. 1st Class Alan Alcaraz, 834th Transportation Brigade operations NCOIC. “Although the religious team is new, the bond and connection with the Soldiers and the MOTCO team was genuine.”In the near future, Hicks hopes the team will be able to personally connect with other brigades and battalions in the command just like MOTCO as COVID-19 procedures allow.The Religious Support team holds virtual prayer and Bible study sessions for the SDDC workforce daily and sends out a spiritual resiliency message every other day.“The daily prayer and Bible studies will morph into 24/7 resources where DOD personnel within SDDC may access anytime of the day or night in any global time zone,” Hicks explained.