News | May 24, 2016

Division chief overcomes fire with faith, support from co-workers

By Alex Siemiatkowski DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

This story is part of a series highlighting the resilience of DLA Troop Support's workforce.

Elias Dungca looked at his apartment on fire and knew that he was going to lose everything in it.
 
“I was in shock,” said Dungca, a Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support division chief. “But being a husband, I had to comfort my wife right away.”
 
His faith, family and friends helped Dungca’s family resiliently overcome the fire that destroyed their home in October 2014.
 
Despite losing all of his family’s material things from the fire, when Dungca realized that he, his wife and two sons were safe, it helped him to accept what happened and shift to recovery mode.
 
“I think this is one of those things that happens in life, as far as being thrown a curveball, that isn’t understood right away on why, but there is a lesson learned,” said Dungca.
 
“Sometimes we take things for granted. And seeing tragedies happen around the world kind of desensitizes us. But when it happens to you, you get into a different mindset.”
 
Dungca is the chief of the Command Support Office’s organization development division. After the fire, his supervisor, CSO Director Neil Kovnat, assured Dungca that taking care of his family was the priority.
 
Kovnat recalled one of the first discussions he had with Dungca after the fire and said he was struck by how unprepared people can be for unexpected life events. It’s one reason why Kovnat is trying to increase awareness about the DLA resilience model.
 
“Part of this resiliency program is to look at adversity proactively instead of reactively,” said Kovnat. “There is a great opportunity for the workforce to benefit personally and professionally from addressing the various aspects of resiliency.”
 
The resilience model has four pillars: mental, physical, social and spiritual.
 
Dungca said his spiritual faith in a higher being and believing God was taking care of things was crucial.
 
“I think that if you have faith and use that as your foundation, along with friends and family, it helps you get through a lot of things,” said Dungca. “I was never alone in this situation. There were always people and organizations willing to help.”
 
The American Red Cross helped the Dungca family find temporary lodging after the fire. And the Troop Support community also helped, raising money through bake sales, and donating gift cards and basic items such as towels.
 
Almost two years since the fire, the Dungca family has returned to their normal lives.
 
“I just want to thank Troop Support for what they provided for me during that time, whether it was a small gift or donation,” said Dungca. “It made me feel like I belonged to a special organization because in my time of need, they were there.”