ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- A chilly morning turned into a sparkling day as more than 100 participants gathered for the Rock Island Arsenal Sexual Assault Awareness Month Community Walk/Run here April 25.

Servicemembers, civilian employees, contractors, family members, and local residents participated in the event signifying the conclusion of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Army Sustainment Command, fell into formation as others gathered around to pay honors as the post flag was raised at 6:30 a.m.

Sgt. 1st Class, Jacqueline Watkins, RIA Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, joined by Sgt. 1st Class Lourdes Vasquezarocho, ASC SARC, then started things with opening remarks.

"The Army is committed to the health, safety and well-being of its Soldiers, civilians and their family members. Besides this commitment, during the month of April the Army and Department of Defense are joining the nation in observing National Sexual Assault Awareness month," Watkins said. "We are joined here today to highlight the nation's commitment to end sexual harassment and sexual assault in military units and in our community."

Brig. Gen. Daniel Mitchell, ASC deputy commanding general, then addressed the crowd.

"We are here to mark the close of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual assault and sexual harassment have been a problem in our Army … and in our country so we're conducting this event to bring awareness to it," he said "We can't tolerate it because it erodes trust in our formations. When you erode trust in your formations, you can't fight and win our nation's wars, and that's what we are all about."

Following his remarks, Mitchell cut a ribbon at the Quarters 1 front gate, allowing participants to set off on the 2.5 mile course along banks of the Mississippi River.

After the run, participants were treated to snacks provided by the USO upon their return to Quarters 1.

The run, hosted by the RIA/ASC SHARP, or Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention Team, was one of several events held throughout the month. To learn more about the Army's SHARP Program, go to:

Additional photos of the run can be viewed and downloaded at:

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