Deployer's love for tea steeps through

  • Published
  • By Christin Michaud
  • AFMAO Public Affairs
Little girls often dream of tea parties but for one little boy, tea was a labor of love.

Tech. Sgt. Joseph Holton, 512th Memorial Affairs Squadron, said initially, he saw tea as more of a chore, because he had to make it for his mother all the time.

"Growing up around it, I honestly didn't see it as the great stress reliever and healthy choice that it is," said Holton.

The reservist has been drinking tea for a very long time.

"I don't remember a time when I was not around tea," he said. "My grandmother drank tea, and when I asked, she said her grandmother drank tea. It is something that is part of my upbringing I suppose."

Holton, who has deployed in support of the mortuary mission on several occasions, said tea has many benefits.

"Tea is a great source of antioxidants," he said. "The nutritional value of tea can fight the aging process and even relieve stress and aid digestion. There are more benefits that can come from the right ingredients and the right preparation. Tea in its purest form is the best tea for you."

On his last rotation to the mortuary, he introduced Teaism as a resiliency class as an alternative way to relieve stress for those who care for the nation's fallen. He shared educational tips and samples of a variety of teas.

He recommends drinking tea when relaxing or when there is enough time to really enjoy it.

"I really enjoyed sharing the information about tea and watching people learn about it," said Holton.

Teaism was a unique addition to the resiliency offered at AFMAO, said Gail Reed-Attoh, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations resiliency coordinator.

"It allowed people to learn about tea and gain a different view and appreciation for it," said Reed-Attoh.

Sharing his passion for tea comes naturally to Holton more than 20 years after being first introduced to it; and, it's no longer labor - just love.

"I like it because in its simplest form, it is amazing; and, in its most complex (form), it is amazing," Holton said. "You don't need more than the tea alone to taste the layers of flavors that come from proper preparation."