EDWARDS AFB – Chaplain Capt. Graham Baily, 412th Test Wing, attributes the success of Higher Grounds, the Airmen ministry center, to the partnership formed between the base chapels and the Edwards Civilian-Military Support Group.
“Civ-Mil came out a few years ago to completely renovate the Airmen Ministry Center and move it from one building to another,” said Baily.
He added that more recently they “further augmented” their donations with two café-style coffee makers and video game equipment for Higher Grounds. The first coffee maker was donated Sept. 18 and the second, along with the video game equipment, will be delivered in November.
“The Airmen Ministry Center is a chapel footprint in the dormitory area where single and unattached Airmen can come for spiritual, personal and professional growth. It’s designed to be an alcohol-free, safe environment to grow, connect and develop a healthy community,” said Baily. “We’re mirroring the Air force’s ‘whole person’ concept and that happens at the Airmen Ministry Center in an informal sort of way.”
Part of the ministry includes planning quarterly trips at little-to-no cost to single Airmen. Some of the previous trips have included Six Flags Magic Mountain, skiing and beach camping. They also offer activities at Higher Grounds, with free meals on Friday nights and study groups for the Bible and other sacred texts.
According to Baily, their current goal is to facilitate service projects in the neighboring communities for single Airmen to participate in. The idea is to show them the “bigger picture” of what it means to be a well-rounded individual.
“As a community we’ve invested quite a bit in the Higher Grounds. Having Civ-Mil come along and say they want to invest as well is a big boost and encouragement,” said Baily. He concluded that Civ-Mil’s support has “challenged” him to use the space they have been provided well. In the last year, participation in the Higher Grounds events has tripled.
According to Civ-Mil President, Danny Bazzell, they also provided new billiard equipment for the day room in the dorms, which included three sets of billiard balls and 18 pool cues.
“This is the mission of our organization, anything we can do to make life on base better, we do,” said Bazzell. “We see a need so we step up and take care of it.”
The Edwards AFB Civilian/Military Support Group exists to create a friendly association between civic leaders and military personnel at Edwards. Civ-Mil acts as a host group when needed and finds annual service projects to improve the general quality of life on base.
“Good things are happening and it’s due in a large measure to Civ-Mil,” said Baily. “We’re really grateful that we can have a footprint in the chapel area and we’re humbled and encouraged by Civ-Mil’s support of that footprint. It says that people from many different backgrounds, ideologies and religious inclinations believe in what we’re trying to do here. And that is creating a fun, safe, relaxing, encouraging environment where people can grow in every aspect of their lives.”