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JBSA Chaplains Reflect On Helping Those In Need During Thanksgiving Feast

Eileen Pace
TPR News
Joint Base San Antonio Col. Chaplain Terry Whiteside leads prayer before the chaplains' Thanksgiving meal at JBSA.

Military chaplains at Joint Base-Fort Sam Houston kicked off their holiday giving this year with a family-style dinner for all the chaplains and their staff members on the post.

Col. Chaplain Terry Whiteside volunteered to be the turkey for the day, bringing some light-hearted fun to the chaplains' pre-Thanksgiving dinner.

"This is a great opportunity to let our hair down, what little we have, and just enjoy life and each other," Whiteside said.

Because of the expanse of JBSA’s training and medical missions, there are more than 50 chaplains in San Antonio in the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard, and serving the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Orthodox, Buddhist, Islamic, LDS, and Wiccan communities.

But the mission of these men and women is a serious effort at lightening the loads of military active-duty members across the city.

Credit Eileen Pace / TPR News
TPR News
Joint Base San Antonio Col. Chaplain Terry Whiteside is caught out of uniform for chaplains' Thanksgiving dinner at Joint Base San Antonio Friday.

Whiteside said the congregations actively collect contributions for holiday giving.

"We have raised, in our chapels, $29,253.10 and that will be distributed as commissary gift cards to the families." he said.

Whiteside said JBSA worshippers in fiscal 2013 donated more than $70,000 to extend the military congregations’ efforts into the community and even globally.

"Specifically for Hurricane Sandy, the Oklahoma tornado victims, but locally it went to Northeast Side Senior Association, St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, Warrior Family Support Center, Operation Comfort and Wounded Warriors," Whiteside said.

After their holiday cheer Friday, base chaplains over the weekend were focusing their efforts on recent typhoon victims, collecting donations to send to the Philippines.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.