MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho - Storytellers seems to be a rising star in the Air Force world, but what is it exactly? And where did it come from? Storytellers was created in 2012 at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and has since made its way to Air Force bases around the world, allowing individuals to share their raw and personal stories to inspire and encourage others.
Lt. Col. Michael Lawrence, 366th Maintenance Group commander, speaks to a group of Gunfighters and opens up about a difficult time he faced in his career. During an event called Storytellers at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Jan. 4, 2016, airmen had the opportunity to share with their fellow Gunfighters about times when their resiliency has been tested and how they were able to overcome it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Malissa Lott)
“I think the goal here is to allow others to share their stories,” said Senior Master Sgt. James Mitchell II, 366th Communications Squadron Cyber Operations Flight superintendent. “Sometimes being able to talk about your problems and share your experiences can really help in the healing process ... On the flip side, it may touch one person in the audience who may be struggling with a similar situation and give them the strength and courage to ask for help.”
The program not only encourages other airmen and creates awareness, but allows everyone to get to know their peers on a deeper, more personal level, resulting in stronger relationships.
“It's incredible the bond that is formed after hearing stories,” said Master Sgt. Ann Mitchell, 366th Force Support Squadron Sustainment Services Flight acting superintendent. “You feel closer to them because you took the time to get to know them; everyone has a story ... It's important to take the time to find out what it is.”
Not only does Storytellers strengthen peer-to-peer relationships, but it also reinforces openness with leadership.
“I think it's important to get to know your airmen and hear their story because these simple actions help build trust and relationships,” James said. “It shows your airmen that you care and that you are willing to listen.”
With a diverse group of individuals coming together to fly, fight and win, it's essential to support each other, explained Ann. Every different story leaves its own impact on the audience.
“Hearing these stories may be just the thing people need to get through a tough point in their life; it may give them the strength to share their own story or even the courage to ask for help,” James said. “In the end, I feel getting to know our airmen on this personal level will not only make the Gunfighter community stronger, but the Air Force as well.”
By U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Malissa Lott
Provided through DVIDS
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