An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsroomNewsArticle Display

Article - Article View

Chapel team comes together for one of their own

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chaplain (Maj.) Daniel Forman, 21st Space Wing deputy chaplain and Ethan Boarts, son of deployed 21st SW Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Matthew Boarts, stand at attention during a mock pinning ceremony Feb. 2, 2016 in the Peterson Chapel. The event marking Boarts’ promotion was held to bring together the family who experienced multiple personal tragedies as well as a deployment in a short time. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chaplain (Maj.) Daniel Forman, 21st Space Wing deputy chaplain and Ethan Boarts, son of deployed 21st SW Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Matthew Boarts, stand at attention during a mock pinning ceremony Feb. 2, 2016 in the Peterson Chapel. The event marking Boarts’ promotion was held to bring together the family who experienced multiple personal tragedies as well as a deployment in a short time. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Micah Boarts, left, and Aiden Boarts apply epaulets to the shoulders of their brother Ethan while he stands in for their father, deployed 21st Space Wing Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Matthew Boarts  in a mock pinning on held at the Peterson Chapel Feb. 2, 2016. Chaplain (Maj.) Daniel Forman, 21st Space Wing deputy chaplain, observes the proceedings. The ceremony was held for Boarts’ promotion and to bring together the family who experienced multiple personal tragedies as well as a deployment in a short time. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Micah Boarts, left, and Aiden Boarts apply epaulets to the shoulders of their brother Ethan while he stands in for their father, deployed 21st Space Wing Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Matthew Boarts in a mock pinning on held at the Peterson Chapel Feb. 2, 2016. Chaplain (Maj.) Daniel Forman, 21st Space Wing deputy chaplain, observes the proceedings. The ceremony was held for Boarts’ promotion and to bring together the family who experienced multiple personal tragedies as well as a deployment in a short time. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Deployment can be trying for a family with all the changes in routine and dealing with life in the absence of a family member. But when personal tragedies like the loss of multiple loved ones happen at the same time the toll can become very difficult to deal with.

When the family of Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Matthew Boarts, 21st Space Wing chaplain, faced that situation, their Team Peterson family came together to help see them through the challenges life brought their way.

Towards the end of last year Boarts' wife Alicia's mother lost her battle with multiple myeloma. During the holidays Alicia's family decided to gather at her father's house in Texas to help decorate and bring in the holidays together, easing the first time her mother was not with them for the season. Her brother-in-law was not able to come and stayed behind at his home.

Only a few short days after Christmas Alicia's sister received a call with news nobody wants to hear, especially on the phone. She learned her husband was killed in a tornado that swept across the area.

"It was out of the blue," Alicia said. "Remember life is short, make sure time counts. Family matters."

Knowing what the family had gone through along with Boarts' departure in early January Chaplain (Maj.) Daniel Forman, 21st SW deputy chaplain, came up with an idea to do something positive and encouraging for them.

Boarts was promoted to lieutenant colonel before he deployed, but there was no time to set up a proper pinning on ceremony. Initially the plan was to do a ceremony and stream it from his deployed location, but technical issues prevented that idea.

That's when Forman's idea for a mock ceremony began to take shape. He knew that the Boarts' boys, Micah, 15, Ethan, 13, and Aiden, 11 were struggling with all of the stressful situations thrust upon them in a short time. They attend a youth Bible study Forman holds and he saw firsthand that they were not in the highest spirits, especially Ethan.

Forman's idea was to hold a mock pinning on, adapted in consideration of Boarts' absence. The ceremony was held at the Peterson Air Force base chapel, Ethan stood in for his father. His brothers pinned epaulets to Ethan's shirt using tape, then he donned his father's jacket and hat and Alicia pinned the new rank onto them. The words used during the ceremony were altered in ways to make it meaningful, yet not the same as an official promotion. Past tense was used in some cases, for example, because the actual ceremony took place earlier at Boarts' deployed location. There was no swearing in and the oath was made past tense as well.

"It showed we love our boss," Forman said. "He's a good man and a great leader."
"Ethan was really nervous, but later he had a big grin," Alicia said. "It was really cool and he still takes things so seriously."

The thing that stood out the most to Forman was how proud Ethan looked.  

"He was beaming in my opinion," he said. "He seemed to personify the encouragement we were hoping to achieve. That was really the message behind the whole thing. We wanted to encourage the family while Chaplain Boarts is deployed, and we wanted to encourage Chaplain Boarts to keep up the good work that got him this far in his career."

This is not the chaplain's first deployment and his family understands his commitment to the Air Force and the nation. However, for something as important as his promotion it was special for the family to be able to participate, especially in light of recent occurrences.

"It was great seeing pictures of everyone in the family smiling, especially Ethan," Boarts said. "It was great being remembered and shows how creative we have to be to share special memories."

The outpouring of support means a lot to her family Alicia said. Team Pete has been very supportive during deployment. Wing leadership has checked in on her and others gave her a ride when she had to take her own vehicle in for maintenance.

"They follow through," she said. "They are walking the walk, not just talking the talk."
Alicia said it was very kind of everyone to participate and put together the event for her family, especially when they did not have to.

"We didn't expect it. It was a sign of support that even with my husband gone, 'we are going to be here for you,'" she said.

Most of the chapel staff attended the ceremony, and the family was pleased at the turnout. When it was all finished their feelings were fittingly summed up best by Ethan.

"Thanks to everybody for supporting our dad," he said.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui