The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) Clinical Pastoral Department (CPD) hosted 25 military members for a resiliency trip on June 28, to Bingen am Rhein, along Germany’s Rhine River to encourage social connection, individual well-being, and cultural awareness.
The trip is part of a series of events, the CPD has initiated to preserve resilience amongst staff, patients, and military members by introducing them to local historic, spiritual, and cultural sites.
Early in the morning the group hiked along a mile of the Camino de Santiago up to Stahleck Castle, built around 1,000 AD above the town of Bacharach, Germany. They stopped at the Ruins of Saint Werner's Chapel, built in 1287, to discuss its history and the importance of having compassion and respect for each other.
“Today’s trip allows you to put things into perspective with your friends and coworkers around you. The social connections and self-care strategies made today can last as long as these thousand-year-old monuments. How will you define yourself after today?” asked Army Sgt. Dustin Chavez, a religious affairs specialist at LRMC’s CPD, following their ascent to the ruins.
For some participants, it was their first time to Europe and a refreshing break from the stressors of deployments abroad in Syria and Africa.
“Everything is so green here. Such an area of outstanding natural beauty,” said Army Spc. Isabella Dostert, 19K M1 Armor Crewman 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Infantry, a current patience that took the opportunity to take the trip. “This is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.”
Following the hike, participants sailed along the Rhine Gorge through UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The area was Europe’s key transportation link between the north and south for thousands of years, leading to an exchange of culture and trade, as well as the establishment of small towns and impressive fortresses along the river.
Participants noted how the trip inspired them to travel more while stationed in Germany and to prioritize work-life balance.
“I’ve been here in Germany for several years and had no idea that all this history and culture was so close,” said Curtis Bell, LRMC nutritionist.
The CPD also host ‘Self-help Friday’s’, with group hikes to local historic landmarks and Paws N’ Play, pet therapy visitation, to help increase social interaction.
The resiliency initiatives are free for patrons, who include military members, patients, and staff.
For information about future trips, contact the CPD at DSN 590-5713.