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Illinois Wing Chaplain Staff Biographies

Ch. Lt. Col. Marcia Strahl

Wing Chaplain Emeritus

Chaplain Strahl has been a CAP chaplain for 21 years and has served squadrons in Michigan and Illinois wings.  She has also served as the Great Lakes Region Critical Incident Stress Management Officer from March 2010 until February 2013 when she was appointed Illinois Wing Chaplain.  She is a qualified Mission Chaplain since 2002 and is a SET for that position.  She is also a retired ELCA pastor and member of Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Elk Grove Village where she coordinates the Military Family Support Ministry which include supporting the Packages 4 Patriots program at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, the LCMS congregation in Elk Grove Village who’s pastor is the chaplain of IL-075 (guess how that happened!).  In addition she coordinates congregational volunteers to serve as Protestant Eucharistic Ministers at Alexian Brothers Medical Center, ABMC, where she worked as a part time chaplain until October, 2015 when she left to be her mother’s full time caregiver.  She became Wing Chaplain Emeritus because of reasons on 1 August 2017

Ch. Maj. Le’on Willis

Deputy Wing Chaplain

Ch. Willis is the chaplain of IL-322 in South Holland that reports directly to Wing.  He is a graduate of John Marshall High School in Chicago and completed undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign majoring in American History with minors in sociology, mathematics and psychology.  Ch. Willis also has a Master of Science Degree in Kiswahali and African History, a Master of Divinity Degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia and studies in Spiritual Dimensions in Health Care Delivery and Clinical Psychology at the University of San Antonio.   He has pastored in three denominations, served as hospital and jail chaplains and has a variety of work experience as an educator, store manager, small business owner, home builder, and inventory control.  He is also a qualified mission chaplain and very active in his community providing cadet service opportunities.

Ch. Maj. Bret Lortie

 Wing Chaplain

Ch. Lortie is the chaplain of IL-049 in Palwaukee and since 2013 serves the Unitarian Church of Evanston as senior minister.  He transferred to ILWG from TXWG in 2013 where he had been awarded the Southwest Region Chaplain of the Year Award in 2012.  In 2015 he was also awarded the GLR and National Squadron Chaplain of the Year Awards.  His ES qualification include mission chaplain and pilot and operations section chief.  He served on active duty with the Air Force from 1984-87 and with the “Gateway to the West” Air National Guard Swing Band from 1987-1991.  Ch. Lortie also serves as President of the Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association.  He and his wife of 30 years, Cindy, have a son who is a Ph. D. student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Both Ch. Lortie and Ch. Jill Paulson, who served as Deputy Wing Chaplain from July 2013 to March 2015 are both resource personal for the QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention program in ILWG.  Ch. Lortie was appointed Wing Chaplain on 1 August 2017 to replace Ch. Strahl.

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