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Dedicated to serving Airmen

Former military couple volunteers to provide fun and mentorship

(From left) Bill Myers, (wife) Sharon Myers, Army Sgt. Brook Miller, Martha Franke (wife of pastor), Rachel Franke (7), and Matthew Franke, McChord Field Chaplain pose after Friday night’s meal in Bldg. 1152, Airmen Dorms. /Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro

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Every Friday night, come rain or shine, heat wave or cold front, holiday or workday, Bill and Sharon Myers provides warm home-cooked meals in the Airmen's dorm on McChord Field.

But that's just one of the many services they provide under the umbrella of The Navigators (Navs) - a nonprofit, international and interdenominational Christian ministry with 40 locations and a membership of 4,600 strong. There's bible study, sure, but there's also weekend activities such as skiing, kayaking, white-water rafting, hiking and paintball, among others. Open to Soldiers as well, Navs serves 18-25-year-olds, married or single, enlisted and officer alike.

"We don't focus on religious affiliation but on building relationships and making connections," said Bill, a retired Air Force Tech. Sgt. "We are religion-based in the sense that anyone is welcome. This is about helping those away from home for the first time, about (Servicemembers) who don't know anyone - it's about helping them deal with the challenges of military life and authority, and I can relate because I've been there."

Bill served 22-years in the Air Force before attending the seminary and moving to JBLM in '07, when he and Sharon began their ministry. Sharon also served in the Air Force briefly where she met Bill. Married 42-years, the couple has nine grandchildren and three adult children.

"(Navs) is about strengthening and taking care of the whole person," said Sharon. "We want to create value in (Servicemembers) lives. This began as a call to service but has become an extension of who we are. It's about multiplication, too. When Servicemembers PCS we network to find someone in their new location to connect with; they in turn, pass it on."

Reserves Army Sergeant Brook Miller with the 1-356th on Lewis Main knows about the fellowship Navs provide.

"Instead of staying in your room or drinking all evening," he said, "this is a clean, safe alternative. I haven't seen many places where young people want to hang out with older folks, but it's different here. Navs changed my life in a positive way and (the Myers) are role models for the next generation of Servicemembers."

Funded by McChord's chapel services, Navs also adhere to military rules and regulations.

"(Servicemembers) can learn about themselves and sort things out here (with Navs)," said Chaplain Matthew Franke. "Further, funds come solely from tithes and offering in the Chapel, and no government funds are utilized."

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