FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Hundreds gathered to attend 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Spiritual Resiliency Prayer Breakfast held here April 23, 2013.
In his welcome speech, Col. Sean A. Gainey, 108th ADA BDE commander, thanked the many singers, the guest speakers and soldiers that assembled for the prayer breakfast. He also noted the significance of having a prayer breakfast in the new complex.
“This is the first in the new complex where we have both battalions and the brigade headquarters here together. It is great having everybody back here today,” stated Gainey.
Messages of hope abound during the ceremony as Brig. Gen. James H. Dickinson, 32nd Army and Air Missile Defense Command commander, spoke to those who gathered on the importance of resiliency. He also referenced how the citizens of Boston were handling the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the emotions he felt as he heard the crowd start signing the National anthem during a baseball game.
Another personal story of resolve and resiliency was shared by retired Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Stube. He spoke on the injury he sustained in 2006 while on active duty that landed him in the hospital for a year and a half; the 17 surgeries he endured, and spiritual and emotional support he received from his wife.
“There is something about going into shock; it changes your image of who you are and how you can stand. I had to learn to stand again, physically and emotionally. I learned to rely on my wife. I learned that she is the true strength in my life that I had not respected and appreciated at that time,” Stube said. “She stayed with me for that year and a half. She lived out of a suitcase by my bedside. In so many ways she provided that spiritual strength and she nurtured me. Today I look back and I wonder if she got hurt that way could I care for her. Would I be strong enough to accept the changes in my life that that brought?”
Stube also described the care and love his wife gave to him, “she’s a skinny little thing 120 pounds, she was hauling around my wheelchair, teaching me how to walk and putting me in and out of bed every day , pushing the nurses aside to say please let me do this. Teach me how to do this, he is my partner, this is my job, I wonder if I was a good enough teammate to do that for her. Service does not begin with us in uniform and I do not want any of us to get that upside down. We are fortunate enough to live in a country that one believes in the almighty and two we are serving something bigger than we are.”
Special speaker Lt. Col. Randy Griffin, chaplain for 82nd Airborne rounded out the breakfast with his message of hope. Griffin emphasized the need of hope for everyone and reminded the audience that the biblical definition of hope is confident optimism. “But once again I declare to you this morning, this is not a time to lose hope, this is the time to declare the living hope that we have,” said Griffin. “If you ever really want to be that instrument of hope and encouragement in a hurting world you would have to be able to give the message (of hope) with gentleness and respect so that people will listen and accept what we have to say.”
Prayer breakfasts like this allows the soldiers of the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and Fort Bragg to come together to reflect on resiliency and encourage each other.