Program aims to help troops stick with fidelity
December 2, 2003
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Military and religious leaders at Army bases in South Korea’s Area IV have unveiled a new program linking religious fidelity and marital fidelity.
Called “Coin and Covenant,” the program is designed to help unaccompanied, married servicemembers keep a “practical and memorable” reminder of their spouses and responsibilities back home, officials said.
Earlier this month at Camp Walker, 14 soldiers were inducted into the program and received a pair of coins: a larger one for the spouse at home and a smaller one for the overseas soldier as a reminder to be faithful to God and faithful to spouse no matter what.
“This is a support program for unaccompanied military and support personnel, essentially geographical bachelors and bachelorettes, to keep their marriages strong and solid,” said Maj. Richard Bendorf, 20th Area Support Group chaplain, in a military press release. “The important thing is that each one of us is witnessing to the rest of the people in our units about keeping covenant with our spouses.”
Bendorf presided over the first coin ceremony, saying he empathized with soldiers on tours without their families. “It’s a long time away from the spouses and I understand that,” he said.
Soldiers in attendance said the program was a good way to mix their spiritual and marital desires.
“I’ve been in Korea for four months, but it’s not that hard to be faithful,” said Pvt. Magrata Lee, a 728th Military Police Battalion soldier whose wife of a year is in California. “I always control myself and this program helps in a spiritual way.”
Spc. Daniel Rivera of the 20th Area Support Group Installation Transportation Office made the commitment to his wife while she was visiting from New York. He has been married to Monica for four years. The past 10 months of the marriage have been spent on different continents.
“I feel honored by my husband, who wants to show me how committed he is to me, our marriage and our family,” Monica Rivera said.
Officials said the Coin and Covenant program would include monthly meetings and a yearly retreat. Soldiers and civilians who want to join can be inducted at the monthly meetings.
And though it is run by a chaplain, officials pointed out the program is nondenominational and open to all community members, regardless of their faith.