By MAUREEN ROSE
Gold Standard Acting Editor
In these days of budget tightening, when additional funds come your way, you know it means the Army considers it important.
The important “it” in this case is a three-partnered project on Fort Knox whereby the Cavalry Chapel is being resurrected, so to speak.
“We’re standing up Cavalry Chapel as the resilience center for Human Resources Command,” explained the installation’s senior chaplain, Chaplain (Col.) Byron Simmons. “It will become a multipurpose building that can be used for town hall meetings, lectures or other presentations.”
Not only will the chapel take on new purposes, it will be equipped with a state-of-the-art audiovisual system which is being funded by a hefty grant from the Chief of Chaplains. Simmons added that the AV system could be used for video teleconferencing which will allows dialogue in real time with presenters who could be miles away. Although it requires upfront money, that VTC package saves training dollars that won’t be spent on temporary duty assignments.
The three partners include the Chief of Chaplains for the funding grant for the AV system, the Fort Knox Garrison for providing funding to clean the chapel interior which has been vacant for several years, and the HRC took on the exterior cleanup of weeds and shrubs as well as the overall responsibility of getting it done and having the vision for what “can be.” HRC provided invaluable assistance for developing an appropriate AV system capable of providing this exceptional quality of support to Fort Knox and HRC. It shows what can be done by folks committed to a shared vision.
Not only will there be a new use for the chapel, but the gospel service that meets in the Main Post Chapel will now use the Cavalry Chapel on Sundays. Although the building is equipped with a kitchen, offices, conference rooms and now VTC capability, it still has a traditional chapel with pews and an altar.
“During the week, the chapel belongs to HRC; on weekends, it will be used for chapel services,” Simmons said.
“The (Religious Services Office) and command came together to match up the needs of the Army with a building that wasn’t being used,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Mark East, HRC chaplain. “I applaud the teams for working this out.”
The Army has the big vision to reinforce and extend resilience, East said, but individual commands have some latitude in how they apply it. He said each directorate of the HRC has its own Master Resilience Trainer, and he thinks the center will provide a way for the MRTs to meet and see how things are going in each directorate, what methods have been successful.
“The building lends itself to unity of effort,” Simmons agreed.
East said that using a different building for resilience training was sound reasoning.
“Part of resilience is a resetting of yourself and getting away from the usual job environment helps in that resetting,” he explained. “A change in environment helps the reset just like different food, colors, or lights can help as well. The intent is that people will come back stronger, more insightful. Hopefully people will see changes that need to be made for themselves rather than having someone tell them what they need to change.”
Resilience, of course, is the capacity to recover. Some people take a hit, then decline, then bounce back to levels even higher than where they were before the hit, East said. Others take a hit, decline and just continue to decline. Why do some bounce back and others don’t?
“As chaplains, we are convinced that the deciding factor is spiritual, so it’s a natural fit to do resilience training at a chapel,” East said.
Some folks respond with a blank look when a chapel is offered for resilience training, East said. But after a few seconds, the light goes on and they remember that spiritual resilience is one side of the overall picture of resilience.
“It’s what (Maj.) Gen. (Richard) Mustion (commander of Human Resources Command) calls holistic readiness,” East added. “It’s too easy to think in our own little box; we need help to think differently sometimes.”
The Cavalry Chapel is conveniently located near the Lt. Gen. Timothy Maude Complex, where HRC is housed and is home to about 3,800 employees. East said the resilience center will be available for all HRC; Soldiers, civilians and contractors will be able to take advantage of it.
“We often ask people to come away from their jobs—their routines—for a retreat, which might be a hundred miles away,” Simmons said. “This way, we’re just asking them to come across the parking lot. It’s a reasonable alternative.”