PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Feb. 27, 2023) — U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey, in cooperation with Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center chaplain teams, hosted a “Crafting an Enduring Relationship Ceramic Night” relationship enrichment event on Friday, Feb. 24. Using a Monterey pottery cooperative venue, PoM’s Military Family Life Counselor, Chaplain (Maj.) David Ditolla, brought couples together for an evening out.
“This event allows us to focus on our most important relationship, the one with our significant other. In our busy culture, we sometimes forget that life isn’t just about finishing tasks–it’s about enjoying the journey with the people we love most,” said Ditolla.
Chaplain (Capt.) Joseph McCall wove in marriage enrichment techniques while local professional artist and Air Force spouse, Johanna Keefe, reinforced lessons using clay as a foundation. As a military spouse who has moved all around the world, Keefe knows the importance of finding creative ways for spouses to spend time together.
“Marriage is not always easy in the military, finding new and creative ways to spend time together is important and necessary. This is a way to create something together and truly connect and bond,” said Keefe. “These collaborative pieces are authentic souvenirs of our time here on the Monterey Bay.
Building memories that live in an object that can be passed through families and will live for thousands of years is exciting too. I am so grateful to be part of a wonderful community of creative and loving friends. I want to share this creative work with everyone, it is a passion that keeps me connected to my community.”
Using clay as their tool, service member couples at the event exercised their creative prowess to build their relationships while also creating ceramic artwork that will serve a greater purpose.
A dual military couple, Capts. Steve Spencer and Cristelle Villamena-Spencer were happy to have a night out. Demonstrating military connectiveness, the Spencers stated that a military teen babysat their two children which allowed them to participate in a real date night.
“Times like these where you build something together help to strengthen your relationship like the clay we used as a foundation to make something of our own,” said Steve Spencer.
Jeffrey Molinary, an Army spouse and veteran, said he liked being on a date without his children where he could just connect with his wife, one on one. “Being in this kind of environment helps to humanize everything. Having PoM and DLI senior leaders involved was meaningful to me,” added Molinary.
As the evening closed, McCall reminded participants that creating pottery is like maintaining personal relationships: It takes time, care and dedication.
To learn about future events, contact the USAG PoM Religious Services Office at (831) 242-5281 or (831) 242-5233. Visit them online at https://home.army.mil/monterey/index/php/my-fort/all-services/chaplains-1