Chaplains host Blessing of Hands ceremony

  • Published
  • By Jason Minto
  • Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations

Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations recently embraced a tradition known as the "Blessing of the Hands" ceremony. The Blessing of the Hands ceremony is a time-honored ritual that nurses have cherished for generations. It recognizes the tireless dedication and selfless care provided by healthcare professionals and has since been embraced by various entities that offer care and service to those in need.

“The decision by AFMAO to adopt this tradition underscores the importance of their mission to provide dignity, honor and respect to the fallen service members, and care, service and support to their grieving loved ones,” said Capt. Benjamin Quintanilla Jr., AFMAO senior chaplain.

During the ceremony, Col. Chip Hollinger, AFMAO commander, delivered a poignant reminder of the value of human touch in their mission. He emphasized the essential role that every member within AFMAO plays through their hands in caring for those they serve. The Blessing of the Hands ceremony serves as a profound reminder of the impact and significance of their hands in fulfilling their mission.

“The ceremony was a blessing for all who attended,” said Robyn Yoder, AFMAO information system security officer. “You could sense in the room a renewed awareness for each of our gifts God has blessed us with and how each of us uses our gifts to serve this honorable mission.”

The chaplains at AFMAO extended blessings to both incoming and outgoing deployers, inviting them to contemplate the impact they have had and will continue to have while serving at AFMAO. This ceremony serves as a symbolic and powerful testament to the dedication and compassion of all those who work tirelessly to support the fallen and their families.

“Even though I’m going through the roughest times being away from my husband and children, I know I’m here for the right reasons and Jesus will guide me the right way,” said Senior Airman Ashley Michalski, Fisher House support staff member, deployed to AFMAO from the 914th Force Support Squadron, Niagara Falls, New York.  

In a world where healthcare traditions merge with military service, the Blessing of the Hands ceremony at AFMAO stands as a powerful symbol of honor, compassion and the unwavering commitment to those who support those who have given their all in the service of their country. It is a reminder that even in the most challenging times, a caring touch and a compassionate heart can provide solace and support to those who need it most.