By Anna Keller
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
U.S. military personnel experience life differently than civilians — deployments, combat duty and security issues all are part of the profession but come with unique challenges both during and after a soldier’s military career. A new group in Enterprise hopes to help soldiers and veterans by providing a safe space to discuss these concerns.
Enterprise Military Support Group held its first meeting Sept. 19 at the Church on Boll Weevil Circle. According to
John Granger, director of missions for Coffee Baptist Association and a veteran himself, the initial meeting was well attended, and the participants and group leaders shared positive feedback.
“The spouse of one of the men (who came to the first meeting) texted me … saying her husband was helped and she was so glad he came,” Granger said.
The idea for the group began with Granger and was born from conversations he had with fellow Christians and veterans.
“I’ve tried to have close contact with the chaplains’ office at nearby Fort Rucker,” he said. “We have lots of military retirees in our area and the chaplains and I have discussed the needs of soldiers, veterans and their families for years.
The sobering statistics about PTSD issues and soldier/veteran suicide have concerned us all.”
Granger enlisted the help of chaplain Dean Bonura, retired chaplain Sonny Moore and minister Fred Fowler (all veterans as well) to start the support group. The group has been in the planning stages for years and is designed to be a space for Granger and other leaders to reach out in friendship.
“We agreed that this type of support group could be very helpful to many soldiers and retirees in our area,” Moore said. “Having served as post chaplain at Fort Rucker several years ago, I know the value of having someone to come alongside to listen and care.”
Importance of listening
Listening is one of the key elements participants can expect from this group, along with connection between those with similar experiences.
“They can expect moral support and can expect that their feelings will be respected,” Granger said. “They can expect that we will talk about how the Lord has helped us and they can expect confidentiality.”
This initial support group will last for six weeks and the hope is that the group members will be able to forge friendships during that six-week period that can continue beyond the meetings. A second set of meetings is slated to begin Feb. 20.
“The first meeting was informal yet informative,” Moore said. “The best way to publicize this opportunity is by word of mouth and we’re doing that.”
For more information, call Granger at 334-894-6411.