Catering to all

  • Published
  • By Col. Ken Stefanek
  • 39th Air Base Wing vice commander
A few months ago my wife and I were doing a shelf-check at the Base Exchange when we saw something we both knew would be perfect for our daughter. As we considered whether or not to buy the item, the major point of discussion was not if our daughter would like the item, but if we should get our son something as well.

My wife, who is definitely the brains of our team, reminded me that whenever possible we needed to maintain equity between our two kids, if for no other reason than it keeps us from having to explain why we do more for one child than the other.

The key here is equity ... attempting to provide equal access to services, programs, etc. across the base. As leaders, we try to be inclusive to the myriad needs of our community so long as they don't interfere with mission accomplishment. This is why our Special Observance Program equally supports the numerous cultural observances throughout the year like Black History, Women's History, Native American Heritage and Hispanic Heritage months.

Our chaplains operate in much the same way, as they continually try to accommodate the spiritual needs of people who don't practice religion at all or may practice a religion different from their own. Chaplain guidelines illustrate the importance of maintaining equity with regard to religious beliefs when stating that leaders "bear a special responsibility to ensure their words and actions cannot be construed to be officially endorsing nor disapproving any faith belief or absence of belief."

We are lucky here at Incirlik, as our chaplains clearly understand and comply with the intent of this guidance. The "Hope Mobile," Crossroads Café, tours/pilgrimages, and Club Beyond are all perfect examples that demonstrate the equal access to services and programs afforded to the Incirlik community by our chapel team. Whether you are a religious person or not, I hope you take advantage of these many opportunities - I think you'll find it time well spent.