2018 in review: Sports, fitness, wellness continued at Wright-Patt

Steve Smith, former National Football League all-pro wide receiver with the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers football teams, instructs a young receiver on running a correct pass route during the NFL Football ProCamp clinic at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base July 9. The clinic, sponsored by the Defense Commissary Agency, was a 2-day event open to boys and girls in grades 1-8, who are dependents of active-duty, retirees and Department of Defense civilian employees. (U.S. Air Force photo/Al Bright)

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Steve Smith, former National Football League all-pro wide receiver with the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers football teams, instructs a young receiver on running a correct pass route during the NFL Football ProCamp clinic at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base July 9. The clinic, sponsored by the Defense Commissary Agency, was a 2-day event open to boys and girls in grades 1-8, who are dependents of active-duty, retirees and Department of Defense civilian employees. (U.S. Air Force photo/Al Bright)

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base personnel, as individuals or team members, rose to many challenges during 2018. Here’s a look back at the past 12 months of sporting events and a culture of caring on base:

Sports, Fitness and Awareness Events

• The Air Force Marathon was named one of “the 15 Best Fall Marathons in the U.S.” by the popular fitness website, Daily Burn. The site lists a relatively flat course, flyovers and historical aviation sites as reasons for the honor. The marathon has made it on the Daily Burn’s list several times.

• The Wright-Patterson Individuals with Disabilities Program hosted an Assistive Technology Workshop April 12. Presented by Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley, the workshop was designed to provide information and hands-on demonstrations of the uses of lighting equipment, workspace arrangements and accommodations, and various kinds of software applications, like JAWS and Focus 40.

• March marked the rollout for the 2018 Green Dot program by Wright-Patterson AFB’s Integrated Delivery System agencies. The Violence Prevention Office covers Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and suicide prevention training and awareness – programs aimed to reduce incidents of self-directed and power-based personal violence.

• Children and teens participated in a “Kick Butts” event March 21 at the Prairie’s School Age Facility, joining thousands of other youth across the United States and on military bases around the world to send a clear message of ending the tobacco epidemic and making the next generation tobacco-free.

• The 88th Air Base Wing Chapel community hosted a resiliency event under the guise of a dodgeball tournament March 16 at the Jarvis Fitness Center in Area A. Twelve teams of six to eight players from across the base signed up to duck, dip, dive and dodge their way through the double-elimination tournament, all while getting a better understanding of the importance of resiliency.

• The Wright-Patterson AFB basketball team finished its 2018 season with a 23-6 record and ranked third nationally in military basketball. Intramural sports are offered through each base’s unit at Air Force fitness centers worldwide. Those who stand out in the intramural program may have the opportunity to participate on a base team.

• Everyone at Wright-Patterson AFB was invited to strengthen bonds, test athletic skills and build resilience during an inaugural Commander’s Challenge May 10, one of two designated Wingman Days for 2018. The day of fun and challenge included a Commander’s Challenge barbecue, served near Jarvis Fitness Center and coordinated by the 88 ABW chaplain staff.

• April is Autism Awareness Month, which made it the perfect time to introduce a new effort at Wright-Patterson AFB. Air Force Materiel Command partnered with Wright State University to launch a pilot program called the Autism at Work Initiative. Its goal is to enhance the hiring opportunities for recent college graduates diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The initiative’s aim is to find job opportunities in areas that require the particular skills members of the autism spectrum group may bring to the table. This initiative is a year-long internship program that is fully funded by the Department of Defense.

• The 20th annual Blue Streak season continued from May through October. Riders cycled a 10-mile course at Wright-Patterson AFB. Many base employees, military and civilian, participated in Blue Streak, with overall participation exceeding 130 in good weather. Other riders came from as far away as Morgantown, West Virginia, to ride.

• In observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Wright-Patterson AFB Family Advocacy Program hosted fun and interactive events to empower participants to make a difference in the lives of children. A Child Abuse Prevention Walk and burger burn took place April 20 at the Jarvis Fitness Center track. Wright-Patterson employees and their families were invited for food, lawn games, a fitness walk and other activities.

• Australians and New Zealanders commemorated ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day April 25 to recognize the sacrifices that Australian and New Zealand soldiers, sailors and Airmen have made – not only in defending their country but in upholding their nations’ longstanding commitment to peace and security. To mark this special occasion for 2018, members of the Royal Australian Air Force based at Wright-Patterson AFB hosted an ANZAC Day commemoration, which included the traditional ANZAC Day dawn service held at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Valor Park, followed by a “gunfire” breakfast.

• The 88 ABW hosted a Walk of Remembrance April 24 at Huffman Prairie Flying Field. The walk, part of the Department of Defense’s observance of the Holocaust Days of Remembrance, was self-guided and followed a 3-mile path. During the walk visitors explored a chronological tour of the Holocaust, with volunteers on hand reading victim’s names.

• Military members and fitness enthusiasts at Wright-Patterson AFB had a new way to increase and maintain fitness levels starting May 10. A TRX Tactical Training Locker, a functional training rig that can be utilized by dozens of users at a time, was unveiled next to Jarvis Fitness Center, Kittyhawk Center, as part of the Commander’s Challenge Wingman Day. The $35,000 training center, provided by the Air Force Services Activity, is situated on an extension of the oval track at Jarvis.

• Seventy-five attendees from Wright-Patterson AFB and other bases took part in the inaugural AFMC Equal Employment Opportunity Symposium April 3-5. The symposium was hosted by the AFMC Manpower, Personnel and Services Directorate’s Personnel Programs Division. One of the central themes was an in-depth break down of both the proactive role of the Affirmative Employment Program and the reactive role of Equal Opportunity, and how they fit together to create the AFMC Model EEO program.

• The Air Force’s newly redesigned Individual Delivery System, or IDS, took a proactive role in preventing crisis situations, including suicide, by encouraging helping agencies to establish a prevention-based focus. An element of the Mental Health Clinic, the Suicide Prevention Program worked with other IDS offices and mental health professionals to evaluate the installation climate, track data and plan effective outreach programs for Airmen and their families. The Suicide Prevention Program tracked data that showed how important building relationships are to managing on- and off-duty time.

• The 88th Civil Engineer Group collaborated with the National Park Service to host an Earth Day event April 25 at the Wright Memorial National Park, located adjacent to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s Area B. Twenty volunteers planted 17 bald cypress trees in the parking lot at Wright Memorial, along with wild geranium.

• The WPAFB/Dayton Area Sharks took the fifth-place team trophy at the YMCA National Championship meet held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, April 19-22. Twenty-seven swimmers represented Wright-Patterson AFB and the greater Dayton area as members of the South Family YMCA in Kettering. In combined scoring, the team earned 1,302 points – the most ever scored by the Sharks at Nationals, and their fifth-place finish matches their best ever at national competition.

• Military members and civilians gathered at Wright-Patterson AFB April 27 to race in the Sexual Assault and Prevention Office’s 5th annual 5K Race for Respect. April was Sexual Assault Prevention month, which aims to spread awareness of sexual assault within the military.

• The 88th Civil Engineering Group hosted an Arbor Day event, planting 300 seedlings with the National Park Service and 32 Fairborn City School children at the Wright Memorial May 7.

• Members of the 88th Security Forces Squadron participated in a 3.37-mile ruck march around Area A as part of Police Week activities at Wright-Patterson AFB, May 15. Police Week was established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy to pay tribute to law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

• Wright-Patterson AFB celebrated its 21st year as a “Tree City USA” community and joined 240 other communities throughout the state for recognition during a Tree City USA award program April 20. The base also received a “growth” award by going above and beyond in management of its urban forest.

• The Special Observance Committee for Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month hosted a month of activities celebrating the rich and diverse cultures from Asia and the Pacific Islands. A Taste of Asia food sampling kicked off the month-long observance. Volunteers then read stories to students at both the North and South Child Development Centers during the month. A luau was the highlight event of the month and was held on May 23 at the USO Center.

• June 1 kicked off Men’s Health Month, bringing awareness to the challenges and disparities men face in healthcare. The Civilian Health Promotion Service hosted classes during the month focusing on men’s physical, social, mental and spiritual health.

• Airmen and their families gained greater access to American Red Cross services thanks to a new office location at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center. The new office, located in the basement, Room BK K2, is now more visible and accessible to those in need of service to the Armed Forces assistance offered by the Red Cross.

• An Alzheimer’s Association Military Task Force was formed to improve services for local military personnel, veterans and government civilians who may be supporting a family member or personally struggle with dementia-related disorders. Based upon research on dementia-related disorders, there appears to be a relationship between dementia and post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The new community effort also will focus on helping caregivers associated with Wright-Patterson AFB and those they care for who are suffering or may be more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

• The Air Force’s new Employee Assistance Program provided civilian employees and their families with free, confidential resources and support to help manage normal everyday life challenges that may impact job performance and personal wellbeing. The Air Force EAP/Worklife4You bundle of services and resources provides support on two levels: Air Force EAP provides counseling, financial and legal services, whereas Worklife4you provides a “concierge-like” service to help assist with every day stressors, no matter how large or small. Additionally, individuals have access 24/7 via 1-800-222-0364 and online.

• Continuing the commitment to pollinator revitalization, Wright-Patterson AFB held its second annual Pollinator Expo June 20 at the Wright Brothers Memorial. The event included guest speakers, free children’s activities and a free screening of “The Guardians,” a documentary about monarch butterflies. The expo highlighted the monarch butterfly.

• Members of the Wright-Patterson AFB Fire Department attended a post-traumatic stress disorder/peer support program training June 6. The firefighters participated in a two-day course to learn how to be a peer supporter for their counterparts when that person may not want to talk to the typical outlets such as a chaplain or supervisor.

• The LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Awareness Month Special Observance Committee hosted a 5K fun run/walk on June 22, along Hebble Creek Road, Area A. The event celebrated diversity, inclusion and respect in the workplace.

• The book “Boys in the Boat,” inspired a group of Air Force Life Cycle Management Center employees to put together an eight-person rowing crew and compete in a competition. The group found success on the water, winning one of three races against experienced rowers during a spring competition.

• In June, the 88th Civil Engineering Natural Resources division and the children at the Wright-Patterson Youth Center in the Prairies created a monarch butterfly waystation to provide a habitat necessary for monarch conservation. The children planted more than 60 native species of plants to help attract monarch butterflies and to help preserve the pollinator population. While caring for the waystation throughout the year, the children learned about the importance of sustaining monarchs and other pollinator populations.

• The Department of Defense Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity recognized two individuals from AFMC for their work in the Workforce Recruitment Program to provide jobs for students with disabilities. The WRP is a national recruitment and referral program that connects federal-sector employers with college students and graduates with disabilities who are seeking employment. The individuals are Molly Fore, AFMC human resources specialist and WRP recruiter; and third-year Wright State student Ben Sanders who is studying human resources management is enrolled in the office of disability services, where he learned about the WRP and applied to join the program.

• On July 9-10 more than 150 military children, ages 6-14, participated in the Steve Smith Sr. football ProCamp at the Kittyhawk field at Wright-Patterson AFB to improve their athletic skills. Smith is a former NFL wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens.

• The 88th Force Support Squadron introduced a new food truck named “Food on the Run,” to give the base population more dining options. Owned by the 88 FSS and operated by the Wright-Patterson Club, the food truck rotates to different locations around the base.

• Kittyhawk Lanes Bowling Center celebrated a three-month renovation Aug. 13 that brought new furniture, flooring and a cutting-edge bowler entertainment system that rivals bowling facilities in the area. The system is the only one like it within a 400-mile radius and is interactive, allowing bowlers to enjoy different environments with animated and themed backgrounds, scoring grids and more than 1,000 animations.

• Jack Coudron pedaled the 10-mile Blue Streak course during the Aug. 14 time trial at age 7. He finished the course in 47 minutes for a 12.7 mph average speed in his first Blue Streak. Coudron attends Smith Elementary School in Oakwood where he is in second grade. Blue Streak is the longest bicycle race he has pedaled. Coudron is the youngest rider ever to compete in the 20-year history of the Blue Streak Time Trials. He is the son of Jeff Coudron, Blue Streak timer and an AFLCMC Simulators Directorate employee.

• Hispanic Heritage Month was observed from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to celebrate the history and culture of those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. Awareness events included Child Development Center book readings, Spanish-themed meals and Latin Night at the USO with dance instructors.

• Some 1,000 military, civilians, contractors, retirees and family members from the Wright-Patterson AFB community came together to honor the lives lost in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 by participating in the fifth Run for the Fallen Sept. 11. Sponsored by the Wright-Patterson Company Grade Officer Council, the event began with a reading of each significant event that occurred the morning of Sept. 11 followed by a moment of silent reflection and opening remarks provided by Col. Thomas Sherman, 88 ABW commander.

• Two Airmen from Wright-Patterson AFB helped the U.S. Women’s Armed Forces Soccer Team finish with a solid 2-2 record during the Conseil International du Sport Miltiaire (CISM) 11th World Women’s Military Football Championship at Stout Field on Fort Bliss, Texas, June 20-July 5. They were 1st Lt. Carla Cimo, who works at the Air Force Installation Contracting Agency as Charlie Flight commander of the 771st Enterprise Sourcing Squadron; and Goal Keeper Coach Capt. Erin Issler, an intelligence officer with the 14th Intelligence Squadron as an Air Force Reservist. She is also a human factors engineer in her civilian position with the 711th Human Performance Wing’s Human Systems Integration Division.

• Wright-Patterson AFB recognized National Disability Employment Awareness Month in October by holding seminars as well as screenings for wellness, stress and mammography.

• Josh Bozue of Fairborn and Team 9258 Wealth Management led the field of 79 bicyclists Oct. 9 to be the first-ever rider to dominate Blue Streak throughout a full seven-event season since Blue Streak began in 1998.

• A “Military Awareness Days” event organized by personnel of the Business and Enterprise System Directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, featured local Holocaust survivor Samuel Heider. April 30 marked the 73rd anniversary of his liberation by American forces from years of starvation, abuse, denial of his human rights and the murder of his family during the Holocaust in World War II. Heider spoke about his happy, traditional Jewish, early family life in Poland and the traumatic transition to the horrors that befell the Heider family as the Germans began their destruction of the Jewish people. Heider was liberated from the horrors of the Holocaust after spending years in a ghetto, concentration camps, losing his entire family and being on the verge of death every day. He thanked the audience for attending and for their service in the military, saying, “It’s because of you that I am here today.”

• November is Native American and Alaskan American Heritage month and to recognize the significant contributions made by the first Americans, two special events were scheduled for the month. On Nov. 1, attendees made authentic Native American medicine bags and learned how they were used. In addition, Navajo tea and other authentic Native American dishes were available to sample. On Nov. 27, guest speaker Bill Kennedy, a cultural anthropologist from the Boonshoft Museum in Dayton, gave a presentation about the local Adena and Hopewell Indian cultures and mounds that are located in and around the base and in the local area.

• A “Signs of Suicide” art display took place Oct. 29 through Nov. 2 in the Wright-Patterson Medical Center atrium, Wright-Patterson AFB. The artwork was produced by participants at the K12 and TEJAS (Teen Educational and Joint Adult Studio) Gallery in Dayton. Vera Bowie, the base’s violence prevention integrator, pointed out that suicide prevention takes a community, and that connection and belongingness are key and protective factors in suicide prevention.

• Danielle Burress, 88th Force Support Squadron Community Services flight chief, and 2nd Lt. Wendy Price, 88th Mission Support Group executive officer, are competitive bodybuilders. Bodybuilding is a multi-faceted sport for both men and women and has various competitive divisions, including bikini, figure and physique. Both competed in the National Physique Committee Ohio State Championship. Burress took home second place in Figure Class A and fourth place in Women’s Physique, while Price walked away with fifth place in Open Figure.

• Wright-Patterson AFB continues to work with Native American tribes on best practices for preservation and interpretation of the Adena mounds on site. This has protected them in ways that otherwise would not have occurred. The Native American tribal representatives engaged are Historical Preservation, Sac and Fox of the Mississippi in Iowa; Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Baraga, Michigan; the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; Tribal Archaeologist, Seneca Nation of Indians, Salamanca, New York; and THPO, Seneca Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, Grove, Oklahoma.

• The recycle rate at Wright-Patterson AFB is currently 50 percent, which is better than the national rate of 35 percent, thanks to the cooperation of the base community and the efforts of personnel at the Recycling Center in Area A.

• Collaborative research efforts between members of the 88th Civil Engineer Group Natural Resources Program, the Propolis Project and researchers at Penn State, Purdue and Central State universities have yielded promising results in the production of honey bees that are naturally able to defend themselves from harmful varroa mites. The Propolis Project came into being around 2014 thanks to support from the Levin Family Foundation, which supports agencies in Dayton and surrounding areas that feed, clothe, educate and provide health-related support to people in need.

• The 88 ABW Fire Station No. 1 held a memorial service Nov. 21 to honor the firefighters who lost their lives serving the community. Maj. Tyler Johnson, 788th Civil Engineering Squadron, acknowledged the firefighters who served and lost their lives, which included Frank A. Smith who died in 1932 while fighting a fire in a Motor Pool facility; Dale V. Kelchner and William J. Collins who both lost their lives fighting the fire that burned down Air Force Logistics Command (Bldg. 262-A, now Bldg. 266) in 1961; and Harold “Sparky” Sparks who died of a heart attack after fighting a fire in 2009.

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