Chapel, Airman earn top Air Mobility Command awards
by Airman Jose Climaco
MacDill's Chapel was named the top Large Chapel Team May 3, and Airman 1st Class Beldani McFarland, 6th Air Mobility Wing chaplain assistant, was named top chaplain assistant Airman in Air Mobility Command.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Wally Vaughn, 6th Air Mobility Wing Chaplain, informed Col. Margaret Woodward, 6th AMW commander, about the awards May 3 at the Chapel.
When asked about winning the prestigious award, Chaplain Vaughn responded humbly saying, "I was delightfully surprised and overwhelmed when it was announced."
The Chapel has several benchmark ministries. One example is the reunion cruise for married couples, which has been highlighted in AMC's command chaplain's newsletter and stands out among the other ministries, said Chaplain Vaughn. It began as a ministry unique to MacDill, but now other AMC Chapel staffs have been inspired to adopt the innovative reunion ministry.
The Chapel's success can be credited to its staff and location, said Chaplain Vaughn. The whole team gets together to come up with new ideas constantly, and MacDill is located near Orlando, Channelside and other entertaining locations where several activities have taken place.
"The chaplains are rich with innovative ideas for ministries," added the chaplain.
Other ministries which help MacDill stand out are the marriage retreat weekend and monthly dinner for families of deployed personnel.
"Families love the monthly dinner," Chaplain Vaughn said enthusiastically.
The monthly dinner has become popular due its genuine care. Invitations are sent out the first of the month to families of deployed personnel and phone calls are made later to verify attendance. We are the only Chapel staff in the Air Force which makes phone calls to homes of those who are deployed, said Chaplain Vaughn.
Such programs are important because people can survive without them, but it makes it easier when they are available. People no longer feel they're on their own, said Cathy Lavelle, director of the monthly dinner, along with Diane Baggerly.
Winning the award wouldn't be possible without a complete team effort including chaplain assistants who handle administration and logistics, said Chaplain Vaughn.
Airman McFarland said she attributes being named the top chaplain assistant to her ambition to do more in the community and improve herself with the support from the Chapel staff.
"I always keep trying and hope it pays off in the end, and if it does, I know I did something good," Airman McFarland added.
"Winning the award says to us we're doing meaningful ministries at MacDill. The excitement is still bubbling at the Chapel. We're going to continue to do good ministries," said Chaplain Vaughn.