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Residents pray for those held in China
"Support for military spouses is the focus of an Oak Harbor-based Web development business reaching around the world to gather words of encouragement and understanding from those who can empathize with families of detained crewmembers in China - other military spouses. Chadduck Enterprises, a home-based business of B.J. and Cindy Chadduck of Oak Harbor, owns and operates Web sites for military spouses. The Web site, www.militarywives.com, opens with a page dedicated to the 24 EP-3E surveillance plane crewmembers, listing their names and all but five of their photographs. Visitors can light a cyber-candle and write an entry into the prayer book for the crew members detained in China after their aircraft bumped with a Chinese F8 jetfighter, killing its pilot. The EP-3E crew has been held on the mainland China island of Hainan since the April 1 incident.The prayer book has more than 200 entries from all over the world, said B.J. Chadduck, a retired Marine. Chadduck said he plans to present each crewmember with a printed copy of the prayer book after they arrive home.The support the wives give to each other is more important than what I do with the site, Chadduck said. The site is designed to be a tool to connect military spouses, allowing them to provide support to each other. The company also has service-specific spouse sites, www.navywives.com. with similar Web sites for Army, Marine Corps and Air Force personnel. Sites for military husbands and military children are now under construction.While the waiting continues for the safe return of the detained EP-3E crew on Hainan Island off mainland China, the Oak Harbor community is showing its support - for the crewmembers and their families. Residents adorned the city in yellow ribbons more than a week ago. Now, some are increasing their efforts to reach out and unite the community in faith and hope, keeping a close vigil, in spirit, until the crew safely returns home.The Rev. David Lura, pastor of First United Methodist Church on Ireland Street in Oak Harbor and president of the North Whidbey Ministerial Organization, said he wanted to do something to show support and provide comfort. So he called upon Oak Harbor churches to form a daily duty network.Lura at noon on Monday opened his the church for a prayer service, during which he lit a candle and read the names of the 24 crewmembers. The church bell tolled 24 times. Other churches throughout Oak Harbor are opening their doors at noon daily, so hopefully all denominations can be represented, making services available to all denominations of worshipers, Lura explained.To try to do something that would not leave anyone out would be tricky, Lura said of his idea to ask other churches in the ministerial organization to participate. Lura's church scheduled the daily noon prayer service in 1991 throughout Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf.With this being Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday, there were already a number of services planned. The noon prayer service is something extra conducted by churches to provide a place for community members to participate in thought and prayer for detained U.S. crewmembers, Lura said.A bake sale will take place this weekend in the main lobby at Harbor Tower Village, a retirement center at 100 E. Whidbey Ave. Organized by Georgia Wise, Harbor Tower's housekeeping manager, proceeds from the bake sale will be donated to the enlisted wives' club to help cover some of the costs of the support the club is providing to crewmembers' families.I read in Saturday's (Whidbey News-Times) that the wives' club is helping with meals for the families, and the proceeds from the bake sale can be used to help with supplies, Wise said. Many of the seniors at the center have a connection to the military, as does Wise. She said the current situation makes you stop and think, and we want to help. You can reach News-Times reporter Christine Smith at email@example.com or call 675-6611 "