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NEWS | April 12, 2024

Fort Hunter Liggett cultivates quality of life through community connection

By Augusta Vargas Fort Hunter Liggett Public Affairs

The Fort Hunter Liggett (FHL) Religious Support Office (RSO) is a beacon of hope for Soldiers, civilians, and their families in the remote Central California installation.

FHL, covering approximately 165,000 acres, is renowned for its isolated setting and ideal military training environment. There are robust Family, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (FMWR) activities on post and some basic amenities. Still, if one wants more variety, they'd have to travel 25 miles to the nearest small town, King City. There is no public transportation to or from the installation, so transportation is an issue for some, leading to restricted social and recreational opportunities.

Understanding and addressing these challenges are crucial for military leaders and support services to enhance Soldiers' and their families' overall quality of life. The RSO's commitment extends beyond spiritual and emotional needs. They assist during deployments, organize community events, and address community needs effectively.

Chaplain (Col.) Brian Seidel and his wife, Karri Seidel, embraced FHL despite its remote setting. "We had previously been told we were going to Hawaii, and we were kind of bummed about that because we really wanted to come to FHL. Then they told us FHL, and we were happy," said Seidel. “I know no one else in the Army would have cheered FHL over Hawaii, but we did.”

Recognizing the need for a community hub, Mrs. Seidel initiated the idea of a complimentary coffee bar, inspired by a church in Squaw Valley. Thus, the 'Coyote Coffee Bar' was born, serving the community every Tuesday and Thursday.

Funding was a challenge, but community donations and contributions from the Seidels made the coffee bar a reality. Similar challenges were faced with the Serenity Garden project, another of Seidel's visions to boost morale and offer a place of solace. With the help of FHL directorates and the U.S. Army Reserve 801st Engineer Company, the garden became a peaceful retreat adorned with artificial turf, stone accents, and fountains.

The Women of the Chapel organized a Women's Garden Party to celebrate the garden's completion, which quickly became one of the most impactful events in the community's history. "Feedback was overwhelmingly positive," said Seidel. "Some of the ladies even said it was one of the best events they had ever attended."

The RSO provides a range of programs and activities to support mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, including weekly Bible studies, resiliency training, fellowship meals, and more. The RSO also runs a Food Pantry within the Family Wellness Center, offering free food to the community through partnerships with external organizations.

Looking ahead, Chaplain Seidel expressed his team's eagerness to explore new avenues for community engagement. "We really want to take advantage of the awesome things to do around California. The great beaches, Hearst Castle, Moonstone Beach. These are our intentions for the near future. The team and I are excited about making these endeavors a reality."

Follow the FHL and DFMWR Facebook pages to learn about all the activities at FHL:,