Retreat improves self, relationships

| April 2, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo By
Pfc. Jennifer Lowes
130th Engineer Brigade Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE, Marez, Iraq — Married and single Soldiers from the 1st Engineer Battalion, 779th Engineer Battalion and the Headquarters Company of the 130th Engineer Brigade, here, traveled to Contingency Operating Base Speicher’s Freedom Rest Center, March 18, to discover new ways of improving their interpersonal relationships.

The four-day retreat included daily classes to teach married Soldiers how to improve their relationships with their wives or husbands.

130th Engineer Brigade Chaplain (Lt. Col.) John Molina leads a class in the sunshine during the four-day singles and married retreat for self and relationship improvement at Contingency Operating Base Speicher’s Freedom Rest Center. Single Soldiers were offered advice on picking a good partner and healthy ways of dating.

Soldiers would then spend the rest of their days enjoying the luxuries of the Freedom Rest Center.

The COB Speicher Freedom Rest Center — a compound where Soldiers can relax, wear  civilian clothing, have access to movies, books, Internet and phones — turned out to be an ideal setting for the retreat.

“For Soldiers, this was a breather and a chance to challenge their interpersonal skills.” said Lt. Col. John Molina, chaplain for the 130th Eng. Bde.,  and one of three chaplains leading the retreat. “Soldiers got some good, useful training, and some well-deserved time off.”

Two other chaplains supported the retreat: Capt. Jeff Peppers of 779th Eng. Bn., and Capt. Jason Hill of 1st Eng. Bn.

When classes finished for the day, many Soldiers still had questions about the material covered. Discussions about what was being said in class continued through dinner and even into the early morning hours, Molina said.

“The food was the best part,”  said Spc. Michael Hiebert, 130th Eng. Bde. “After being in Iraq for 10 months, you’d be surprised how awesome it was just to have a good burger.

“Meeting new people in a different setting was nice, too,” Hiebert added. “Working with the same people every day can be a little mundane. I wish we could have had more time there.”

Soldiers were allowed to choose for themselves which classes they would like to participate in.

For example, Spc. Brittany Spiering, a married Soldier in the 779th Eng. Bn., decided to participate in the singles classes in order to be with her comrades.

“Not everything applied to me because I’m already married, but I still learned a lot,” Spiering said. “I learned how to keep working on my existing relationship and how to work towards making things equal between me and my husband. We’re doing well, though, and haven’t had any problems since I’ve deployed.”

Whether it was for self-improvement, relationship improvement or just some much-needed relaxation, participating Soldiers, feeling refreshed and in high spirits, said they were happy with the way things turned out at the retreat.

Category: News

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