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Chaplain support team provides spiritual care during ARCTIC CARE 2017

Air Force Chaplain Maj. Jason Bredeson with the 940th Air Refueling Wing interacts with community members and the Saint John's Mission Choir at the Kodiak Clinic in Kodiak, Alaska on March 31, 2017. ARCTIC CARE 2017 is a civil-military collaboration intended to build on mutually beneficial partnerships between U.S. communities and the Department of Defense. It provides training opportunities for U.S. military (Active, Guard, Reserve) and Canadian Health service members to prepare for worldwide deployment while supporting the needs of underserved communities on Kodiak Island, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Luke Johnson)

Air Force Chaplain Maj. Jason Bredeson with the 940th Air Refueling Wing interacts with community members and the Saint John’s Mission Choir at the Kodiak Clinic in Kodiak, Alaska on March 31, 2017. ARCTIC CARE 2017 is a civil-military collaboration intended to build on mutually beneficial partnerships between U.S. communities and the Department of Defense. It provides training opportunities for U.S. military (Active, Guard, Reserve) and Canadian Health service members to prepare for worldwide deployment while supporting the needs of underserved communities on Kodiak Island, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Luke Johnson)

920th Rescue Wing

KODIAK, ALASKA- As medical providers participating in the Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Exercise ARCTIC CARE 2017 heal the bodies of Kodiak Island, Alaska, the two-person chaplain support team looks after the spiritual well-being of those participating in the medical readiness exercise as well as develops positive relationships in the community.

“As a chaplain here, I provide the service members with 100 percent privileged communication and provide for their religious support as well as any counseling matters that they may have need for,” said Air Force Chaplain Maj. Jason Bredeson from the 940th Air Refueling Wing, Beale Air Force Base, Calif. “I’ve also engaged the community on a number of levels representing our armed services with the clergy in the area.”

The chaplain team coordinated with a Russian Orthodox mission on Kodiak Island and arranged for a choir to sing for service members in the Kodiak Clinic.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to have them sing for our providers in the clinic,” said Bredeson.

The chaplain and his assistant, Senior Master Sgt. Joel Rodriguez from the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard have provided spiritual counseling to members of the Kodiak Island community.

“We were at a coffee shop one day, and we were able to provide spiritual counseling to a woman. We were able to talk to her and pray with her as well,” said Bredeson.

Prior to his arrival in Kodiak, the chaplain involved his congregation, located in Sacramento, Calif., to support ARCTIC CARE 2017 through Operation Stuff the Duffel.

“I got one of the big green service duffel bags and, over the course of a week and a half, my congregation donated new toys. We’ve been giving them out to the kids and it’s been great,” said Bredeson. “It’s also neat to see all of the medical providers handing out toys to the kids.”

Rodriguez has provided invaluable support to the chaplain serving everyone taking part in ARCTIC CARE 2017. He is also instrumental in helping the chaplain do community outreach.

“We find out what resources there are in the community for our service members, and we also collaborate with the community to find out what we can do for them,” said Rodriguez.

Not only is Rodriguez providing critical support to the chaplain, he also works as a translator in the Kodiak Clinic.

“My primary job is the chaplain assistant, however, since my first language is Spanish, there is always a need, even in this community, to translate,” said Rodriguez. “This has been an amazing opportunity for me to help this community by translating for the medical providers. It’s been really eye-opening for me because I’m learning more about the community, and I’m also making new friends.”

According to both Bredeson and Rodriguez, the entire Kodiak community has warmly embraced all the service members participating in ARCTIC CARE 2017 and welcomed them with open arms.

“It’s been wonderful here, the people of Kodiak are so warm and kind. Area clergy expressed great appreciation for the work that all medical providers in the clinic are doing on Kodiak Island,” said Bredeson.

ARCTIC CARE 2017 is part of the IRT program, which is an Office of Secretary of Defense sponsored civil-military collaboration intended to build on mutually beneficial partnerships between U.S. communities and the Department of Defense. ARCTIC CARE 2017 provides training opportunities for U.S. military (Active, Guard, Reserve) and Canadian Health service members to prepare for worldwide deployment while supporting the needs of underserved communities on Kodiak Island, Alaska.

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