Operation Angel

Reported by Alliance Chaplain Major Robert Wido, written by C&MA staff writer Joan Phillips

operation-angelThere was no exemption for Keesler Air Force Base when Hurricane Katrina hurled a wall of water at Biloxi, Mississippi. Most of the city was destroyed, leaving its 50,000 residents, including Keesler’s military families, homeless and “shell shocked.”

But today, a host of “angels” is giving comfort to Keesler troops. “We are helping them come to grips with the catastrophe,” says Alliance chaplain Major Robert Wido, the senior officer of Angel 2, the second team from Lachland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, assigned to the Mississippi Air Force training facility.

“We are providing pastoral care for the base’s chapel staff [of fifteen],” he continues, “and helping the community clean up.” The Keesler military community lost 800 homes, its commissary, and its hospital.

“Donations from U.S. Air Force installations throughout the world have enabled the Keesler facility to distribute $500,000 in aid,” Wido says. Marriage seminars and spiritual retreats are also a part of the relief effort.

Wido accompanies volunteer soldiers to clean houses and remove debris; he also offers a listening ear to hurting people. After conducting a chapel service in one neighborhood, Wido was approached by a woman whose life was scarred by tragedy.

“She recently lost her father, husband, and daughter in a car accident that left her surviving child blind,” says Wido. “Then fourteen feet of water roared through her home, destroying everything. She wanted to talk about her life, her grief, and God.”

Camouflage and boots may not be the image one conjures up when thinking of angels. But at Keesler Air Force Base, recipients of Angel 2’s spiritual care know they’ve had someone heaven-sent to watch over them.

Chaplain Wido returned with his family to the United States in summer 2009, following his two years of service in Germany. He will be stationed at Randolph AFB in San Antonio, Texas. Pray for his new ministry, serving the Air Force Chief of Chaplains.


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