We Gathered, We Celebrated, We Continue in Service
Wow! What an exciting last couple of months for the USACCRA. Let’s start with the blessings of our COVID comeback gathering in Tucson, AZ. After four years (2018) of plans and safety precautions, 75 people attended the 2022 gathering with smart presentations, successful business, and fantastic food, fellowship, faith, and fun. As was said in the opening remarks, “When we were needed, we were there. And we are here!”
Presentations included superb sharing opening night from LTG-R Jeffrey Buchanan defining the true heroes among us from popular notions of famous people. The next two days Dr. Duane Larson and CH(COL)-R Jeff Zust walked us through an outline and discussions on moral injury getting everyone involved. On Thursday CH(COL)-R Thomas Vaughn Jr., currently contracted by OCCH, led us on a tour of the Chaplain For Life campaign, an effort from the Army OCCH to assist Chaplain Corps personnel transitioning from active to retired service. (See slide deck here). This program offers numerous opportunities for the Association to partner with the OCCH. Friday morning CCH (MG) Thomas Solhjem and RSGM Elian Strachan presented a comprehensive and sobering state of the Army Chaplain Corps with an invitation to partner with the Association as we navigate a challenging future for our nation.
Friday also saw us remember and silently salute 154 names of our fellow Chaplain Corps who died these past four years. (See the Roll Call here). Names were added to the last moment when taps were played. We owe them much and will continue to honor then by emulating their service to God and country in and out of uniform.
During our business meeting constitutional revisions were approved updating and clarifying our Association’s ability to meet present and future needs. We said thanks for superlative service on the board by CH(COL)-R Eric Wester and elected SGM Ralph Martinez (He retires in Dec.), CH(COL)-R Bill Morrison, CH(COL)-R John Brinsfield, and re-elected for a second tour of duty, SGM-R Steven Stott. New board members start service 1 January 2023 for three-year stints. The Association continues to be blessed with solid leadership. (See our Facebook for Tucson photos).
New leadership and opportunities require expanded communication. SFC-R Chuck Heard is our volunteer IT support. He’s been working on a total revamp of our website. How do you like it? More additions and changes are coming. Please direct your comments on website usage to Chuck at email@example.com.
Progress continues on schedule for presenting awards and a first-year free membership certificate to top graduates of officer and enlisted basic and advanced classes at the Institute of Religious Leadership (IRL-school house) starting January 2023 using $1200 in special donations from the membership for this purpose. Again, thank you for hearing a need and meeting it. Board members Chris Patterson, Karen Diefendorf, and Steven Stott will be presenting awards and informing the incoming classes about the Association, its vision, mission, and importance as a partner with the active Corps to preserve our Chaplain Corps heritage and mission well into the future.
And speaking of the future, talks with CH(MG) Solhjem and RSGM Strachan are exceptionally promising opening doors to new memberships and shared activities across a wide spectrum of Corps life. This means “all hands on deck”. (Sorry, a Navy term.) Don’t be surprised if a board member calls asking for help with recruitment, communication, activity ideas, and more. Other chances for membership participation are articles for the website that inform, inspire, humor, and intrigue; a website article editor; a representative of the Association to events, activities, and Army sites (Active, Reserve, and Guard); start new local chapters; and member recruitment. Your personal contact is the most powerful invitation the Association can make. Folks with IT skills can supplement current resources. One definite big help are three volunteers to act as Points of Contact (POC) for the Chaplain Corps death notices. One person acts as a POC for receiving information about a deceased person within the Army Chaplain Corps family. The information is received and sent to a short list of others for final processing. The other two volunteers are redundant backups. Currently, no system exists for a central point of contact. We would like to simplify this by publicizing a single POC. This makes it user friendly for all concerned. Contact me (Scottie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909-553-5196) if you are interested.
Lastly, gratitude for a speical few, Gary and Susan Dahl for orchestrating this successful Tucson gathering. The 10th biennial gathering was an exceptional challenge due to COVID and delayed contracts. The Dahls have been present for every USACCRA gathering in its history. Who better to organize and lead?
Thanks to Chuck Heard for a wholesale overhaul of our website with more to come. Our IT is critical to modern management and takes many hours to accomplish.
Thanks to Dennis Madtes who leads a team from the board representing the Association at the NCMAF meeting in January. This will help us reach out to endorsers for membership, communication, and more.
Thanks for the local Arizona chapter. Without them Tucson wouldn’t have happened. They found entertainment, great places to see, speakers, and so much more. Thank you, Arizona Chapter!
The days for USACCRA are exciting and expanding. Spread the word. Participate. Service to God and country never ceases any more than God’s love ever ceases for us.