D-M Chapel team furthers success in marriage retreats

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The D-M Chapel team received positive feedback from Desert Lightning Team members after another successful marriage retreat at the Loews Ventanta Canyon Resort, Tucson, Ariz., August 28-30.

The "A Marriage Care Weekend at Loews Ventanta" retreat was originally offered to DLT members who deployed within six months or were scheduled to deploy in the upcoming six months. The Chapel Team opened up admissions to any DLT couple, quickly closing up the few spots left for the retreat.

"It was a weekend for returning deployed Airmen, or those about to deploy, (to have) an opportunity to refresh their relationships," said Capt. Justin Szeker, 355th Mission Support Group chaplain. "It's to get them away from the base and their homes and (help) them work on their relationships."

The retreat consisted of four relationship-building sessions, I Take Thee, To Have and to Hold, For Better or for Worse and To Love and to Cherish.

Szeker was assisted by Maj. Andre Mooney, 943rd Rescue Group chaplain, and Master Sgt. Laura Omo, 943rd RQG chaplain assistant, who facilitated one of the sessions. 2nd Lt. Ashley Ross, 355th Fighter Wing chaplain candidate, assisted in childcare and acted as the childcare liaison. Master Sgt. Russell Dietz, 355th FW chapel superintendent, and Staff Sgt. George Mena, 355th FW chaplain assistant, also helped make the marriage retreat a seamless program.

DLT members in attendance remembered their favorite part of the marriage retreat.

"In a number of the sessions, my wife and I went knee to knee and we turned and faced each other," said Capt. Todd Afshar, 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group Detachment 1 commander. "We discussed things like traditions we've had in our (childhood) that we intentionally brought into our family and some things that we purposely didn't bring into our family. We learned a lot about each other."

The event brought couples closer together by facilitating a way to get back to the foundation of their relationships.

"I think this retreat was very successful," Szeker said. "From reading the feedback, we've got a lot of great responses."

The 35 couples who attended the retreat had one less worry thanks to DLT members, hotel staff and one local agency.

"We use (Trusting Connections) for a lot of our child care," Szeker said. "They helped out with the childcare for the retreat and the hotel staff helped out with (them) on Saturday."

The chapel hosts at least one retreat per year, but they were already able to provide three in 2015.

The next event, "Marriage Resiliency Retreat," hosted by the D-M chapel team and Tucson Community Cares, is scheduled for Sept. 18-19 at the Loews Ventanta Canyon Resort. Childcare will be provided for children ages 4 to 12.

For more information about this week's retreat, contact Sergeant Dietz or Maj. Bradford Phillips, 355th FW deputy wing chaplain, at 228-5411. Registration forms are located at the Desert Dove Chapel, located at 3208 Granite Street, east of the D-M Lanes Bowling Center and south of the D-M Exchange.