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NEWS | April 10, 2020

Florida Guard chaplain supports Soldiers, first responders

By Sgt. Leia Tascarini 107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Chaplains have been an integral part of the military since 1775. Their mission to offer religious services, counseling and moral support during war or peacetime is not limited to active-duty units. National Guard chaplains have also aided Soldiers with spiritual needs during activations in support of emergency relief operations.

With over 2,000 members of the Florida National Guard on orders supporting COVID-19 response operations across the state, Florida Guard chaplains like Maj. Jaime Villacorta, the 50th Regional Support Group chaplain, have embraced their unique mission to support Soldiers of different faiths through trying times.

“We want to make sure our Soldiers are taken care of in mind, body and spirit,” said Maj. Jacqueline S. Zuluaga, 256th Medical Company Area Support commander. “The chaplain offers guidance, prayers for Soldiers and prayers for the sites. Even if you just need a word of encouragement, he is always around and ready to listen.”

For the past few weeks, Villacorta has provided spiritual support to Soldiers in two South Florida counties, traveling from community-based testing sites (CBTS), to airports, to armories, speaking with Soldiers and first responders on the front lines daily. His routine starts at 7 a.m. every day with a prayer service for police officers, nurses and anyone else who wants to participate at the Hard Rock Stadium CBTS in Miami Gardens.

While Villacorta is affiliated with the Assemblies of God Pentecostal church, he is available to provide support to Soldiers with different religious beliefs. He also offers services every Sunday, starting at Hard Rock Stadium and moving to Miami International Airport and finishing at the Marlins Park CBTS.

“Soldiers are human beings with different clothing,” said Villacorta. “I am here to provide support to all Soldiers, first responders and nurses, regardless of their religious or spiritual background. We are in this fight together.”

 

 

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