Service members and their families celebrated the McCutcheon Memorial Chapel’s 60th anniversary at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Sunday.
“The goal of the celebration was to bring the members of the congregation together to recognize the greatness of God,” said Lt. Cmdr. Raynard Allen, chaplain at Marine Corps Air Station New River.
The celebration brought the members together by explaining the history of the chapel.
The celebration started at 10 a.m. with a sermon over the history of the chapel and Gen. Keith B. McCutcheon, the Marine who the chapel was named for. McCutcheon was a highly decorated Marine aviator, who earned the Distinguished Service Medal with two Gold Stars, Army Silver Star Medal, the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and several other awards.
After the sermon, the celebration continued with music, games and food. Volunteers cooked hotdogs and hamburgers.
“We’re going back 60 years to honor those who have come before us who served, and to show how the chapel has changed in the course of 60 years,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Shane Barger, a religious program specialist with Marine Aircraft Group 26.
The chapel has made an impact on Marines, Sailors and the community.
“It’s helped save lives,” Allen said.
He also stated Marines who had suicide thoughts came to the church and found solace.
The members of the chapel count their blessings for being able to reach those who need help.
“We have been blessed to do a lot of ministries here. We have reached to communities, retirees, active duty, Marines and Sailors, and we have been blessed to do that,” Allen said.
The chapel is more than just a building, it’s a place where others come together to help.
“It’s helpful to have a close knit community like that,” said Capt. MJ Cunningham, a pilot with the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266.“The community would go pick up Marines from MCT and bring them here if the chaplain wasn’t having mass over at Camp Geiger.”
Sixty years have passed since the chapel was first built, but the chaplains’ hope for another 60 years.
“We feel as if we are the life blood, and because of that we have to continue to provide for this community and to grow and be stronger,” said Allen.