This afternoon Dale and I, along with Stars and Stripes were invited to participate in a roundtable discussion: an open arena to ask questions, and listen as U.S. Navy Capt. Lori A. Laraway, coordinator, Navy’s Operational Stress Control (OSC) Program and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bonnie R. Chavez, Navy's Behavioral Health Program Manager Navy Suicide Prevention and OSC policies received our questions.
Stress in the military? Stress in our world? None of it can be taken lightly, and the program which the Navy has set up to move forward to meet the needs of sailors today is a generational learning series of steps. From first days at boot camp, sailors can learn about how they are being equipped to be World Class Athletes. Their lives have value and are worthy of our country's respect. The USN is willing to build and support each sailor with the confidence it takes to assist individuals to sustain themselves during continual deployment, family separation and relocation.
As a military spouse I know the comfort of having my military member nearby, or within phone distance. With the military's support of the family there is usually the retainment of the military member. I valued his job security, his job respect, the technical achievements and personal job growth that he accomplished. There was recognition for success continually. We had interaction with his bosses and pats on the back. The family speaks loudly, firmly in the heart of the military community. Military life is about community.
There are times when the outside-the-gate community should step up and recognize the importance of their military residents because of the community's personal experience, patriotic fervor or the desire for continued economic health. It is a said affair when BRAC places an installation on the closure list. Local businesses and establishments need to recognize the efforts they could put forward. They need to speak out and show appreciation, voice accolades.
I would love for spouses to have the ability to have time to be a couple (one of the strongest support systems that I know of!). This support could come from local churches, chapel sponsorship, community support for Navy Birthday, Marine Birthday, or for Veteran's Day. Local news recognition that the installation is an economic stronghold for the community. Clean up the area around the gates - take down the war zone that is out there. Let the Chamber of Commerce know that zoning needs to be realized, enforced or changed. Let the authorities act or react. Embrace the installation with a fresh face!
Our Navy is comprised of athletes, fit, educated computer savvy and purposed. They are ready for success and the leadership is being equipped to direct this goal.
Life is a great game... not a game of chance but of stepping forward with conviction and self worth. We need to support and cheer on these athletes - it's our team and we know they are winners!