TUCSON, Ariz. — For service members, deployments, long hours and high-stress situations are often a fact of life. These challenges not only affect the service member, but also the people who depend on them and support them as they support the nation — their families.
Last month, 20 162nd Wing families gathered at a local resort for a weekend of family activities centered on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Military Families.” The three-day retreat is part of the Strong Bonds program, a unit-based, chaplain-led event that assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening the Air Family.
162nd Wing Chaplain (Capt.) Ralph Garren organized this year’s event with the help of the rest of the Chaplains team, the 162nd Wing Family Readiness Group and several volunteers.
“This is the first Family Strong Bonds event for the 162nd Wing” said Garren. “We have hosted several Strong Bonds events for couples over the past 10 years, but this is the first time we are getting the entire family involved.”
Over the course of three days the Chaplain and Family Readiness teams led families through the program, which included lessons and practical exercises, as well as time for family bonding. Master Sgt. Michael Hobby, from the 162nd Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron, attended the event with his wife and teenage son.
“Our family became closer to each other and strengthened our relationships because of this event. We had so much fun that it didn’t really feel like a conference or seminar,” said Hobby. “It was a fun, relaxing, and an informative retreat that taught us how to be a better family.”