The Army Substance Abuse Program held its first Resiliency Health Fair in an effort to provide the WSMR community with the proper tools to lead a healthy mental and physical life from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Professional Development Center at White Sands Missile Range.
Several local health and behavioral health facilities were on hand to provide vital information and information about upcoming seminars.
Several vendors like Mountain View Co-Op and Sam’s Club were also present to provide the overall health and wellness the resiliency campaign strives for individuals to obtain.
The events kicked off with a speech from Chief Master Sgt. Gay Veale, Command Chief Master Sergeant, 49th Wing, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, whose husband battled mental health issues throughout his lifetime. Even though Veale and her husband sought help for his issues and attempted to tackle it head on, his continued lack of interest to tackle his issues led the couple to divorce. When it seemed like Veale’s ex-husband was battling his personal demons head on, she received word of his suicide. Veale said she had to practice several of the steps in what is now known as resiliency to get through the difficult time and to stop blaming herself.
“The four life pillars (mental, physical, social, and spiritual) played a huge role in helping me bounce back. Life can sometimes throw you a curve ball, that’s simply part of life,” Veale said. “Our job, our profession is to protect the freedoms Americans enjoy everyday. It does not mean it’s an easy task to accomplish.”
“You should not feel weak or embarrassed to seek these resources. To me it’s more a sign of weakness to not seek assistance,” Veale added.
WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin provided a few remarks before the fair officially began. He thanked Veale for her speech and awarded her with a commander’s coin. Coffin spoke about the importance of relaying information that was learned at the fair to co-workers and individuals who were not able to attend.
“Most of you who are here are probably the ones who need it less than that person who was too busy to come,” Coffin said. “We want our whole workforce to be healthy. It’s not something you can do after the fact. It’s much better to prevent it in the first place.”
Sandra Class, WSMR Army Substance Abuse and Suicide program manager, said attendance for the event was at over 450 individuals. There were over 30 informative booths at the fair.
The event also offered several door prizes. The largest door prize was valued at $150, a 12 sessions of fitness training; the second largest was a $40 punch card, both donated by Bell Gym.
The event also provided a feedback section where participants could write in what they liked about the fair and what they would like to see in future fairs.
“In reviewing the evaluations, many provided great suggestions for future health fairs,” Class said. “Most people like the idea of going around and speaking to the professionals. They like the variety and the location was well received. There were a lot of great comments about the guest speaker.”
One of the booths at the fair was a prescription drop-off booth that accepted unused or expired prescriptions. The individuals at the booth also provided information on the importance of properly disposing prescriptions and had a display on the similarity in shape and color between prescription drugs and candy. The booth collected over 15 unused prescriptions.
The fair is just the first of several upcoming events happening around WSMR. Lt. Col. Bradley West, WSMR Post Chaplain, will host two courses on resilient relationships, one on Sept. 16 and another on Sept. 24. There are also two Master Resiliency courses that will be held individually on Sept. 18 and Sept. 25. The film, “The Bridge” will also be shown this morning and this afternoon and count towards suicide prevention training. 1
“This is very important because it helps us get through what we face in terms of challenges on a daily basis. Resources like the health fair, in terms of promotion of health wellness, helps you understand exactly what some of your issues and problems and help you get through those issues,” said WSMR Command Sergeant Major Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers. “The things that we do here on a daily basis challenge us both mentally and spiritually so these types of events help support what we do here on a daily basis.”
For a full calendar or more information on events in this article, please contact Sandra Class at 678-1957.