News: Soldiers walk for Christ
Story by Sgt. Adam Gregory
Sunland Park, N.M. – As the sun rose over the crest of Sierra De Cristo Rey, around 500 Soldiers and their family members stood at the bottom of the mountain, waiting patently to hike to the top.
On the venture to the crest, participants stopped at each of the Stations of the Cross before reaching the 29-foot tall limestone statue of Christ.
“The stations represent what Christ experienced over 2,000 years ago, and the hike, as you climb, sweat, and potentially struggle, mirror Christ’s struggle. So the walk and stations work together to remind all participants of what happened, and we can digest it all better as our struggle up the mountain coincides with Christ’s struggle down the path towards the Cross,” said Cpt. Christopher Grizzle, the 125th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division chaplain.
“I would hope that this event gave all troubled individuals hope, as they connected with the source of all hope,” said Grizzle.
“This event is to make the Soldiers and our families stronger in their walk of faith, and get spiritually fit,” said Lt. Col. Karen Meeker, the 1st Armored Division Chaplain. “Every station focused on how we could get closer to God, and how we could be better as people, Soldiers, and family members.”
While no one knows what exactly happened to Christ as he went to the Cross, the stations represent critical events from the scripture.
“The walk for me was amazing,” said Sgt. Victor Everhart Jr., the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division photojournalist. “I was a little upset about a few things going on around me, but going through the stations and saying prayers for peace and tranquility in my life and those around me really made me feel at peace, and I left the event with a sense of calm I hadn’t had in a really long time.”
As families and battle buddies made their way up the mountain and learned about the journey Christ had to the cross, you could see the tensions and hostilities in people were melting away.
“The best part for me was, I was with the people I believe care about me the most, my battle buddy Adam Gregory and my mentor Master Sergeant Meyers,” said Everhart, an Augusta, Ga., native. “They’re the ones who usually calm me down when I’m upset, and they always let me know how I can improve. The only way it could have been better is if my officer-in-charge was there, but I got to carry the cross down the mountain, and just that experience is something I’ll always keep with me.”
“I appreciate that the leadership of Fort Bliss and the Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee allowed me to have such a great experience,” said Everhart.