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Face of Defense: Soldier Serves up Counsel, Coffee (FRWN is Back)
Face of Defence ^
| Pfc. J. Princeville Lawrence
Posted on 09/25/2009 5:23:17 PM PDT by SandRat
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq, Sept. 25, 2009 Army Sgt. Maj. Virginia Stickler enjoys serving up drinks and snacks, as well as a bit of advice, to her fellow soldiers here at a coffee shop that speaks volumes about her deployment.
Gods Grounds is next to the chapel in an area of repose and comfort that soldiers come to for more than just a cup of coffee.
Army Sgt. Maj. Virginia Stickler, a member of the Kansas National Guards 287th Sustainment Brigade, is the manager of Gods Grounds, a coffee shop on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, that serves free drinks, snacks and movies -- as well as advice -- for soldiers. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. J. Princeville Lawrence
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Stickler, a California native serving with the Kansas National Guards 287th Sustainment Brigade, is the manager, and is more than happy to serve up espressos, slurpees, honey buns and muffins. There is a refrigerator full of drinks and shelves of snacks courtesy of the chaplains, people back home and Army supply. This is a place where folks kick back on the couch, munch on a snack and watch a movie. The best part is, its all free.
And for those in need of some guidance, thats free too.
A number of soldiers come here, and theyre stressed and theyre away from their families, away from their support systems and they come here to kind of talk and ventilate, and Im able to listen, Stickler said.
For many soldiers, Gods Grounds is a source of help in troubled times. Soldiers can talk to people like Stickler, who draws from a lifetime of experience in helping people. She has two masters degrees, a doctorate and experience as both a drug and alcohol counselor and a marriage counselor.
That experience and knowledge has helped me help some soldiers get their lives back on track, Stickler said. The ones that I wasnt able to help, I generally refer some to the chaplains office or various other resources.
But for the most part, I have been able to talk to soldiers who have been in crisis and they came here, basically for something to drink, and just started pouring their heart out, Stickler said, and I listened and gave them some guidance and helped them put their lives back together.
Stickler finds it gratifying to help people and recalls a special case near and dear to my heart.
There was a very troubled individual whose marriage was on the rocks. This soldier had two children, she said. I was able to talk to this soldier, as well as the spouse in the states, and we worked on their priorities.
Helping other soldiers is Sticklers way of breaking the cycle. She has been dealing with family problems her whole life.
I came from a pretty messed-up background, Stickler said. My father was a World War II veteran and he had post-traumatic stress. As a kid, I didnt know what that was. He was a very violent man. And all I could think of in my high school days was leaving my family because I was tired of being afraid of my dad.
Stickler left home at 18 and joined the military. I met other people in life, and I realized that not everybodys like my dad and I started to grow.
Her self-esteem continued to grow as she took college courses. After taking a psychology class, she was hooked. Between gigs as a school teacher, college professor, counselor and government worker, she amassed years of experience and was getting ready to retire. Then she got deployed.
I had just finished a weeklong retirement seminar with my civilian job and that Saturday following, I received a FedEx package in the mail with a set of military orders for [Iraq]. So I put my civilian retirement on hold, and in six weeks I had to go to Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
A religious person, Stickler said she found her purpose during a sunrise Easter service at the birthplace of Abraham. As the sun came up over the ruins, she had an epiphany of purpose, and she knew why she had been placed in Iraq.
I didnt want to do this because it really disrupted my life, she said. But you know, sometimes God places us in places we dont want to go. After the experience, I realized why I was here.
I think Im blessed as a soldier who came here kicking and screaming, so to speak. Not only was I able to help a lot of people, but I myself have had a lot of spiritual growth and development while I was here. God has used me in a great way, and Im glad for that.
(Army Pfc. J. Princeville Lawrence serves with the 1st Armored Divisions 4th Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.)
TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: chapel; frwn; iraq; militarywomen; morale; support
FRWN is Back Up through Sunday and then will be Down until a least Wednesday Night but will be Back Up for sure on Thursday.
posted on 09/25/2009 5:23:18 PM PDT
To: MozartLover; Old Sarge; Jemian; repubmom; 91B; HiJinx; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; ...
FR WAR NEWS!
If you would like to be added to / removed from FRWN,
please FReepmail Sandrat.
WARNING: FRWN can be an EXTREMELY HIGH-VOLUME PING LIST!!
posted on 09/25/2009 5:23:54 PM PDT
(Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
posted on 09/25/2009 5:27:51 PM PDT
And this is such a lovely concept/image:
A religious person, Stickler said she found her purpose during a sunrise Easter service at the birthplace of Abraham
posted on 09/25/2009 5:48:05 PM PDT
by Bigg Red
That woman rocks! God Bless America. :)
posted on 09/25/2009 5:52:55 PM PDT
by Diana in Wisconsin
(Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
Thanks for the updates, Sandy.
posted on 09/25/2009 5:57:03 PM PDT
(Why did they bury Barry's past?)
posted on 09/25/2009 6:41:15 PM PDT
("The President has borrowed more money to spend to less effect than anybody on the planet. " Steyn)
HI SandRat, thank you for the ping.
posted on 09/26/2009 12:59:05 AM PDT
(Thank God for Conservative talk radio.)
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