Just off the Durham Freeway and within the American Tobacco Historic District stands the 10,000-seat Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which is the home to the nationally-acclaimed Durham Bulls Triple-A baseball club, made famous by the movie Bull Durham.
This historic venue, harking back to the heyday of baseball, was the backdrop for an afternoon of Family friendly fellowship, food and fun.
Soldiers and Families with the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) braved the rain to watch the Tampa Bay Rays affiliate Durham Bulls dominate the Toledo Mud Hens, July 8, as part of a unit chaplain sponsored resiliency-focused event called “Strengthening the Home Team.”
“The event was a chief of chaplains funded event for Soldiers and Families of the brigade,” said Capt. Jason V. Webster, battalion chaplain, 98th CA Battalion, 95th CA Bde. (Abn.).
The Chaplain Corps funded the event which provided a buffet, Durham Bulls baseball cap, raffle ticket, T-shirts and baseballs for the kids.
Guest speaker for the event, 17-year veteran of baseball’s major and minor leagues, Anthony Telford, spoke of the hardships that came with constantly moving his Family from one location to the other.
He went on to explain that his Family moved 41 times over the course of his career, and that if anyone can understand the struggle, it is Soldiers and their Families, because they are expected to pack up and move often.
“Being a former professional athlete, I fully understand the trials these Families face when separated,” said Telford.
In addition to moving, deployments and training can often disrupt Family activities.
“Soldiers in our brigade deploy and train off-site frequently,” said Webster. “This can put a strain on Families.”
With a deployment cycle almost double that of conventional Army units, the brigade and its members must find innovative ways to foster positive Family experiences and values.
“Our desire was to offer a fun and free venue to bring Families together to enjoy each other, have fun, and learn a little about faith and how it applies to Family resiliency,” said Webster.
“Strengthening the Home Team” lines up perfectly with the U.S. Special Operations Command Preservation of the Force and Family initiative which is intended to identify and implement solutions to improve the wellbeing of Special Operations Forces and their Families.
One part of the initiative involves spiritual readiness and resilience.
“I wanted to share the strength I derive from my faith in God to handle situations with my job and my marriage,” said Telford.
“By having faith and hard work I was able to overcome surgeries, arguments, temptations, and financial strains throughout my career and marriage.”
Sharing Family success stories and ways of coping with the trials of a high stress career are positive ways to increase an individual’s and units’ spiritual and Family readiness.
“It is my goal to help strengthen Families and moral through the sharing of the Gospel and the affect that faith in God has had on my life,” said Telford.
“I greatly love and respect the sacrifices our Soldiers and their Families make for the freedom I enjoy.”