COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Six members of the 14th Flying Training Wing and one local spoke at the first Columbus Air Force Base Storytellers event Jan. 11 at the Columbus Club.
The voluntary event was a way for Airmen to share their stories of obstacles and hardships they’ve overcame in their life.
Col. William Denham, 14th Flying Training Wing Vice Commander, said Storytellers is a great event and is a “grass-roots” idea, meaning Airmen developed this program.
The Storytellers program originally started at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and was designed as a resiliency tool through non-mandated sessions in which Airmen and civilians of all ranks tell a group about a hard time they went through and how they used resiliency to overcome that challenge. Some of the stories were so powerful they caused an entire group of listeners tear-up.
“How I look at Storytellers is that it is another tool that someone can use to teach resiliency,” said Daisy Jones-Brown, 14th Wing Staff Agencies Violence Protection Integrator. “If I was going through something similar to one of the Storytellers, I can listen how they overcame that challenge and use it to my benefit.”
The stories that were told all had resiliency as a theme, however each story was unique in how the individuals used resiliency to overcome their challenges.
One story was about an Airman’s difficult childhood after he lost his grandfather. His grandfather was his “best friend” and mentor. After his passing, the Airman experienced depression but he later had an epiphany that turned his life around leading him to the Air Force.
Another story was about an Airman who had dreamed of being a pilot since he was a little bou. He achieved his life-long goal and received his wings. One Easter Sunday, the pilot was hiding Easter eggs for children and had a seizure. A trip to the emergency room and a few tests later the pilot was told he had brain cancer. The cancer was removed and the pilot still has his wings.
Lastly, an Airman, who had grown up playing soccer her whole life and made it to the collegiate level, tells the story of how she injured her knee on a skiing trip and had to go through three different surgeries over two years. She had to give up soccer for the sake of her health but found a new passion in running competitions.
All the Airmen who spoke had different opinion on what resiliency means to them. That is beauty of Storytellers, they shared their stories and troubles so that someone who may be dealing with similar circumstances could have a different outlook or approach to their own obstacles.
Another Storyteller event is planned for this summer.