Message of hope and healing stands out during fun run

August 18, 2016 (CAMP RIPLEY, Minnesota) — A 5K run/walk event was held for Minnesota National Guard service members Saturday at Camp Ripley.

This event is one of two in the series of fun runs hosted by the Resilience, Risk Reduction & Suicide Prevention, or R3SP.

“Soldiers truly enjoyed this alternative training option. The smiles that were on the participants faces when they crossed the finish line showed they had fun,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jeanette Chaffee of R3SP.

The goal of the Power of One Fun Run is to break down the stigma of talking about suicide and mental health in general, increase the awareness and understanding of suicide, and to ensure service members, their family members, and our community members know who they can turn to if they or someone they know is suicidal.

“We wanted to get people talking about suicide and mental health in general, in hopes that it would help break down any walls preventing people from asking for help,” added Chaffee.

Among the guest speakers were Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Wortham, senior enlisted advisor for the Minnesota National Guard, and Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Guyse. Each spoke about the reality of mental and emotional challenges facing service-members today and the importance of the ‘battle buddy’ system which encourages everyone to care for each other.

“We had a great story from one of our own this year, Sgt. 1st Class Guyse is an incredible inspirational, and a compelling reminder of the power of intervention,” said Maj. Ron Jarvi, event co-organizer.

Guyse talked about what it was like for him to survive his own planned suicide attempt, spend 19 weeks in the VA treating his PTSD and major depression, and what life is like now. He also shared his views on the importance of leaders living up to their oath. Quoting the Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer: “My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind–accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers.”

Over 150 soldiers, family members and community partners turned out for the event sharing the message of building awareness, providing training, having fun and healing.

“Thank you to members of the Minnesota National Guard as well as fellow service members and families who came out to support the event,” added Jarvi.

This run is to raise suicide prevention awareness and connect participants to resources that can help themselves or others; that anyone could be the one person that saves a life.

“I am very grateful to the participants and all those who support these events,” said Wortham. “…one loss is too many.”

The next Power of One 5K will be Sept. 11 at the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the Twin Cities. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the opening ceremony at 9 a.m.

by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs