When Col. Tom Faichney asked Deb Zebrowski in November to lead the new Fort Belvoir Community Care Team, her first instinct was to decline the offer. Help out? Sure. But oversee a group of volunteers from all religious services? Not her thing.
But then she re-discovered two uplifting meditations that made her rethink the Garrison chaplain’s request. She heard the first one originally on Christian radio and it always stuck with her to the point it became a mantra for her and one she wrote on a piece of paper: “God can do more with your surrender, than he can with your control.”
She came across the second meditation during one of her readings: “God is calling you to your future potential, not where you are today.”
As Zebrowski wrestled on whether to accept Faichney’s offer, she found comfort in both statements and it changed her mindset. Instead of fear, she reminded herself this call was not about her, but about God. Once she released her fears and doubts to him, she felt peace and agreed to become the team lead.
Zebrowski joked that the position provided a break from enduring the limited activity caused by the pandemic.
“There’s only so many jigsaw puzzles to do and sourdough bread you can make,” Zebrowski said.
But on a serious note, she saw the opportunity as a way to expand her faith and connect others on a broader level.
“It’s a group of people who come together for the common good of soldiers and their families,” said Zebrowski, a retired Army nurse. “We’re so dedicated. It’s nice to see that in a time of such division.”
It also helped that Zebrowski liked the way Faichney led by making himself available to the entire faith community.
“He’s a breath of fresh air,” Zebrowski said.
Faichney, who took over as post chaplain last summer, created the Fort Belvoir Community Care Team to “identify and meet the practical needs of our people and faith communities” through three subgroups: bereavement, counseling/encouragement and intercession Faichney made it clear this group would not “replace our individual congregations’ care groups, but [would] complement and strengthen them through sharing one another’s best practices as well as our burdens.”
Zebrowski had some experience and leadership in the Fort Belvoir faith community. Zebrowski is an eight-year member of the Catholic Chapel and joined the base’s Catholic Women of the Chapel last year.
Zebrowski stepped into a bigger role over the summer when she agreed to become the Catholic Women of the Chapel’s president.
After taking over as president, Zebrowski has navigated the challenges of keeping the Catholic Women of the Chapel informed during this time, including their oldest member who is 96-years-old.
Faichney believed Zebrowski was the perfect choice to head up this new team.
“Deb is a gifted leader devoted to caring for others with the healing grace of God,” Faichney said. “She has been a successful Army professional health care leader who continues to seek out opportunities to serve. Her faith joyfully compels her service. The Fort Belvoir RSO Team agrees that Deb models faithful caring.”
Zebrowski uses her first name as inspiration in taking on this mission. In the Bible’s Old Testament, Deborah was a highly respected leader in Israel as the nation’s fourth judge.
“Maybe I should do something with that,” Zebrowski said in reference to her namesake. “I want to bring glory to God.”