Former chapel now unique Airmen resource

By: Russ Dyer

With a ceremonial scissors snip, Brig. Gen. Rolf E. Mammen, Selfridge Air National Guard Base and 127th Wing Commander, cut a red ribbon on Nov. 2, 2019, that formally opened the newly designated, “Airman Wellness Center.”
Formerly known as the “Base Chapel,” the Airman Wellness Center’s (AWC) function is to house a variety of wellness services for Wing personnel and their families, helping to keep the force ready in all facets of life.
Prior to the ribbon-cutting, Mammen touted the one-of-a-kind resource now available to Selfridge Airmen.
“Selfridge is the only National Guard location in the country with an available building that can be converted to this use,” Mammen said. “We are so lucky to have it.”
Mammen continued by saying that modification plans for the structure are now in phase one with two more to follow. Once completed, he said this vision is that the facility be informally known as “the Airmen’s living room.”
The 127th Wing’s, Airmen and Family Readiness Group, Sexual Assualt Response Coordinator and Director of Mental Health offices, are all currently operational on a full-time basis at the AWC. Eventually, legal help, personal counseling, family support, civilian job placement and religious counseling will all be available under the same roof.
Plans are also underway to complete an area where off-duty personnel can rest, recharge and socialize with fellow servicemembers in an informal atmosphere. More athletically-inclined visitors may opt for ping-pong games or corn hole matches.
Among the spectators gathered at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were approximately fifty young men and women who are awaiting further orders to report to basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Known as the “Student Flight,” the enlistees report for duty on monthly drill weekends and provided resources to acquaint them with military life.
Paulus Obey, the “go-to” man at the Wellness Center and, essentially the building manager, has been closely involved in the transition since day one. Officially, the 127th Wing Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager, Obey is a retired Air Force master sergeant who has been at Selfridge since 2001. When the AWC was an operational chapel, Obey led a Protestant worship service for several years. In his free time, he is a pastor of a local church.
The largest open space in the AWC is where religious services were held for more than fifty years beginning in 1959, when the building was completed and began its chapel life. Plans are now being considered to use this area as a lecture hall or for showing training videos. But to this writer, this will always be the site where I was married several decades ago. Time moves on.

Mr. Russ Dyer is a retired Marine and former commanding officer of the Marine Air Reserve Training Detachment.

Date Taken: 11.02.2019
Date Posted: 11.13.2019 10:57
Story ID: 351548

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