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Resiliency through outdoors
Christopher, son of Lt. Col. Edward Liberman, fishes for trout during an ice fishing day at Moose Lake, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Jan. 25, 2014. Families were encouraged to get out on the ice and enjoy unseasonably warm weather while promoting resiliency through outdoor activities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel)
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Resiliency through outdoors

Posted 1/29/2014   Updated 1/29/2014 Email story   Print story


by By Senior Airman Shawn Nickel
354th Fight Wing Public Affairs

1/29/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska  -- With the unique environment provided by Interior Alaska, Icemen often face challenges which are multiplied compared to other duty stations. They face harsh temperatures, little sunlight and remoteness not often seen anywhere else in the world.

The Eielson Chapel provided an opportunity to combat some of those challenges, such as cabin fever, and build resiliency with an ice fishing day at Moose Lake Jan. 25.

"Our ultimate goal is to offer Airmen an opportunity to get out when there is a break in the weather, take advantage of the sun when its out and ultimately not get in the habit of staying indoors all the time," said Ch. (Maj.) Chad Zielinski, 354th Fighter Wing Catholic chaplain who facilitated a majority of the fishing equipment. "I think it was a success. We had a lot of families come out and experience the outdoors catching fish."

Along with challenges, Alaska offers a plethora of outdoor opportunities which often translate into the four pillars of resiliency.

"In order to keep stress at bay, you must be balanced mentally, physically, spiritually and socially," said Capt. Bryan Sixkiller, 354th Medical Operations Squadron optometrist. "The outdoors provides an excellent chance to exercise all four."

Capt. Sixkiller stressed that the resiliency isn't just important for him.

"The Air Force can be difficult for families and we try to encourage each other and make the most out of the time we have together," he said. "We find great solace and comfort [in our faith]. We also really enjoy being around other Christians. The chapel has made it easy to reach out and be a part of other's lives. To love and be loved is vital, in my opinion, to resiliency."

Although the outdoors offers excellent opportunities to exercise and build resiliency, there are constantly other events in and around base to help Airmen stay busy and exercise a healthy lifestyle.

"One has to be willing to participate and be involved in all or some activity the base or community has to offer," said Lt. Col. Maria Vida, 354th Medical Group lead nurse. "Explore what your immediate area has to offer. In my mind, there is always something for everyone no matter what type of personality you are. Being happy and productive is what you make your new home to be."

For more information on activities see the Eielson events calendar at www.eielson.af.mil or visit or contact the Airman & Family Readiness Center at 377-2178.

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