Capt. Jeff Bartz, a chaplain with the 107th Attack Wing, New York Air National Guard, is activated to support the coronavirus response in New York. Part of the unit’s responsibilities is setting up three virus test sites in western New York. His unit is also distributing meals to families and individuals in need.
“Standby time leading up to the mission afforded me the opportunity to design Biblically based leadership development for soldiers and present it to command for approval. Command was eager to implement,” Bartz says. “I began right away teaching Conflict Transformation, followed by Thriving in Adversity.” Through 14 workshops, he reached nearly 350 soldiers while accommodating social distancing. “These trainings quickly enabled me to build rapport with the troops, resulting in numerous counseling opportunities.”
His unit’s search and recovery team was the first into New York City. While there, the team assisted mortuary affairs and the medical examiner. In his capacity as a chaplain, Bartz also debriefed and counseled soldiers as they returned home. “Many soldiers are experiencing the fears and uncertainties that are proving to be common in this pandemic. The hope of the gospel has never shined brighter! Opportunities abound to boldly spread the hope of Jesus,” Bartz says.
When not performing his duties as an Air National Guard chaplain, Bartz is associate pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Batavia, New York.