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A look back at 2019 at Wright-Patterson AFB: Sports, fitness

The 2019 Wright-Patterson Dodgeball Tournament took place April 19 at the Jarvis Gym in Area A. Donations supported a local domestic violence resource agency, the Artemis Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kathryn Calvert)
The 2019 Wright-Patterson Dodgeball Tournament took place April 19 at the Jarvis Gym in Area A. Donations supported a local domestic violence resource agency, the Artemis Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kathryn Calvert)

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base personnel, as individuals or team members, rose to many challenges during 2019. Here’s a look at the past 12 months of sports, health and volunteering events and activities at Wright-Patt:

Sports, fitness and awareness events

• The increasingly popular sport of log rolling was introduced by Wright-Patterson AFB’s Outdoor Recreation. The sport is growing from its roots in northern states like Minnesota and Wisconsin and is spreading throughout universities, recreation centers and military bases, according to Kaley Bartosik, Outdoor Recreation director.

• The U.S. Air Force Marathon went green in 2019 with environmental initiatives designed to minimize waste, improve conservation and give back to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base community. The marathon used recyclable heat sheets at both the start and finish spaces and trash stations where trained volunteers sorted trash to reduce the amount sent to landfills. All leftover food was donated, and compostable waste used for improving the local soil. Other initiatives, such as utilizing signage either made from 100-percent consumable waste or 100-percent recyclable, are part of a larger three-year plan. The Council for Responsible Sport awarded silver-level certification to the Air Force Marathon for its efforts in taking environmental action to minimize waste and improve conservation.

• The 21st annual Blue Streak season continued the second Tuesday of each month from April through October. Riders cycled a 10-mile course along the Area A flight line at Wright-Patterson AFB. Many base employees, military and civilian, participated in Blue Streak each month, with overall participation exceeding 130 in good weather. Other riders came from as far away as Morgantown, West Virginia, to ride.

• The Wright-Patterson First Sergeants, Chaplain Corps and Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office teamed up to host a dodgeball tournament in conjunction with April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

• Hundreds of people from the base community and public gathered April 16 for the annual International Fair to get a taste of the cultures, crafts, clothing, folklore and cuisine of many of the base’s partner nations. The popular fair was hosted by the International Spouses’ Group and many of the foreign liaison officers stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB.

• The USO Center at Wright-Patterson celebrated its third anniversary of taking care of Airmen and other service members. Intended for all branches of active-duty military, Guard, reservists and their families, the organization serves as a “home away from home,” plus it provides donated household goods, clothing, uniforms and children’s items from its Airman’s Attic.

• The 88th Civil Engineer Group, the National Park Service, along with students and faculty from Fairborn High School teamed up to celebrate Arbor Day for the third consecutive year April 11 at the Wright Brothers Memorial, Dayton.

• The 88th Civil Engineer Group environmental branch, volunteers from around the base and local park and recreation members came out to support efforts for Earth Day events at various locations on and near Wright-Patterson AFB. Each day had a different location and project, spanning from picking up litter to planting monarch waystations and trees for pollinators.

• For the past six years, the Wright Field Fitness Center has hosted a Fit Fest in conjunction with National Health and Fitness Day. This year’s event on May 16 featured a 5K run, powerlifting and Olympic lifting competition, a running clinic, prizes, giveaways and health assessments. About 1,700 participants came through the fitness center.

• The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program at Wright-Patterson hosted a free Operation Street Smart event May 21 at the Base Theater for people interested in learning how to combat drug and alcohol abuse by today’s youth. Two experts from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, which created Operation Street Smart in July 2002 as a way to take community-oriented policing to a new level, were presenters.

• Hydrorider aqua cycling is new to the Miami Valley and offered exclusively at Dodge Fitness Center. Using the Dodge’s indoor pool, 12 stationary Hydrorider aqua bikes are lowered into 4 feet of water for morning and lunchtime aqua cycling classes. These classes are free and available to individuals with base access.

• A pleasant afternoon during at the Wright Brothers Memorial was an ideal setting for the third annual Pollinator Expo June 19. Hundreds of base personnel and members of the public visited about 30 booths with live demonstration hives, beekeepers making demonstrations, conservancy districts, natural resources proponents, a food truck and family-friendly activities. The expo was coordinated by the 88th Civil Engineer Group.

• The 88th Medical Group was selected by NASCAR for a special honor. As part of the NASCAR Salutes weekend at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers showcased the names of active military units and installations on their race car windshields during the Circle K Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola held on July 5. Team Penske’s Austin Cindric and the No. 22 Pirtek Ford Mustang displayed the 88th Medical Group banner across the windshield during the race.

• Twenty Air Force Academy cadets helped the Therapeutic Riding Institute prepare its new Spring Valley location for operations July 6. The cadets were visiting Wright-Patterson AFB as part of a U.S. Air Force Academy immersion program designed to provide cadets with a greater understanding of different Air Force missions and the multitude of career paths available. Community service is part of the academy experience, with cadets averaging 30,000 volunteer hours per year.

• It is part of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base mission to develop new leaders, wings and ways of thinking, but the Wright-Patterson Medical Center Garden is cultivating growth from the ground up. Initially a food clinic organized for a medical center study on diabetic and pre-diabetic therapy, the 100-by-100-foot plot, a few boxes of seeds and a handful of volunteers bloomed into a base garden that supports and becomes community.

• A one-of-a-kind Air Force Materiel Command employment initiative has entered its second successful year, bringing job opportunities and growth for college graduates who might otherwise face challenges when looking for work in today’s competitive job market. The Autism at Work program, a collaboration between AFMC and Wright State University, offers students and recent graduates with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum the opportunity to participate in paid, one-year internships across the Wright-Patterson AFB footprint.

• The Wright-Patterson AFB Chapel community sent foster kids back to their classrooms in style in the fall. Congregation members from the Kittyhawk Chapel and Prairies Chapel collected 500 pairs of shoes and socks in just three weeks for children protected by the Montgomery County Children’s Center.

• The 88th Logistics Readiness Squadron was an integral part of the Aug. 23 cargo shipment to the people of Haiti, by prepping more than 50 tons of food and water for transportation. Utilizing a C-17 Globemaster III, the 88th Logistics Readiness Squadron made the humanitarian mission a reality, in conjunction with the 15th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, and local charity Hope Boxes. Through the Denton Program, the squadron is a port for non-profit organizations to bring their cargo to be loaded and placed on the aircraft for it to be transported.

• For six years, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Sensors Directorate has held a 9/11 commemoration event to honor those who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks and in the global War on Terror since that day. This year’s events began the morning of Sept. 11 in the circle in front of Bldg. 620, Area B, with a personal ceremony that included a military formation roll call, posting of the colors and singing of the national anthem.

• Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is clamping down on paper recycling in a base-wide effort to reduce the installation’s impact on the environment. The new policy requires 100 percent of the paper and cardboard used on base to be recycled. In addition to recycling paper and paper products, this policy also mandates the use of the Recycling Center’s shredding service for documents containing controlled unclassified information, Personally identifiable information and For Official Use Only information.