FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – To achieve Holistic Health and Fitness, Soldiers and leaders dedicate their efforts to train and maintain their physical readiness. The H2F concept incorporates five crucial domains, and the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps helps Soldiers and civilians enhance a critical one, spiritual readiness.
Approximately 250 Soldiers, civilians and community members attended the Fort Huachuca prayer breakfast March 10 at the Thunder Mountain Activity Center.
Pastor and former National Football League player, Rich Griffith, served as the guest speaker for the event, and the theme was “Prayer Matters.”
When it comes to Soldier readiness, people equate it to physical readiness, but overall readiness comes by addressing physical, nutritional, mental, sleep and spiritual readiness.
“Spiritual fitness is critical for mission readiness,” said Chaplain (Col.) Paul Jaedicke, Command Chaplain, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command.
Spiritual readiness seeks to help Soldiers use spirituality as a resource for enhancing Soldier and Family appreciation of life, relationships and personal resilience.
The Army is committed to providing Soldiers, families and civilians the tools needed to strengthen resilience and improve their personal readiness and guest speaker Griffith’s experiences would resonate with those in attendance.
“He’s a subject matter expert whose wisdom can benefit all of us in the Ft. Huachuca community,” Jaedicke said.
As Griffith reflected on his life and career, he recognized the importance of prayer, and how spiritually, he wanted to express more gratitude toward his faith.
“I developed a new sense of reverence,” Griffith said. “I want to be grateful for how you [God] made me. The gifts and the talents you have given me.”
The more Griffith learned to focus on the gratitude he felt, it helped him do for others.
“As maturity and life experiences happened and then [came] the privilege of praying for someone else,” Griffith explained.”
The role of prayer in society is often debated, but after real-world experiences brought prayer back to the forefront on a national scale, Griffith shared his point of view with the audience.
“Prayer matters,” Griffith said. “It grounds me to who I am. It gives my life trajectory.”
Having a sense of purpose is strongly related to an enhanced quality of life, along with improved health and improved resilience among military personnel.
Finding a spiritual purpose is also something Griffith attributes to being able to show people care and compassion when they are battling with fear, isolation and self-doubt.
“That’s where I can intercede for my brother and sister knowing that they need me,” Griffith said. “I can say you matter. Don’t believe those lies. Don’t believe those doubts.”
Capt. Mersadee Jackimowicz, commander, Charlie Company, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, attended with her Soldiers, and the event resonated with her.
“As a commander, I am directly responsible for the safety and well-being of every Soldier,” Jackimowicz said. “The prayer breakfast assists leaders with strengthening the team, giving them purpose and ensuring they are personally and professionally fulfilled.”
Advanced individual training Soldiers are often away from Family and friends for the first time and can have the fears and doubts Griffith spoke of.
“Allowing AIT Soldiers to participate [in the prayer breakfast] re-enforced the support network surrounding them,” Jackimowicz explained. “This gives commanders another opportunity to gain their trust and to show compassion. Trust and compassion are the foundations needed for Soldiers to reach out when they are struggling with suicidal ideations.”
Protecting the overall health and well-being of the women and men of the Army is paramount. Before leaving, Griffith emphasized his spiritual purpose.
“I can lift up my brother and sister,” Griffith said. “Am I willing to go to battle with my brother and sister on that field of life, on that prayer battlefield? Prayer matters my friends.”