By Gabrielle KuholskiJune 5, 2014
In accordance with the Army's 101 Critical Day of Summer safety campaign, Fort Huachuca held its annual Summer Safety Expo at Barnes Field House May 29 -- 30.
More than 20 organizations participated with booths, displays and presentations to educate personnel in various types of safety and awareness. According to Robert "Nick" Gilmore, Risk Reduction Program coordinator, Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP, more than 5,000 attendees attended over the two days.
"Think about it this summer, you, your Family and your friends, be safe, not just this summer, but all year long," said Jerry Proctor, deputy to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence.
Proctor delivered the introduction to the safety fair's main attraction, an ASAP-sponsored presentation by Bernie McGrenahan, stand-up comedian. His program, "Happy Hour: Comedy with a Message" began as a comedy show but transitioned into a personal story about alcohol and substance abuse.
"Who said you can't be funny before the serious message?" McGrenahan explained. "The laughter helps me develop a relationship with the audience."
During his act, the comedian painted a moving yet motivational picture about his struggle with alcoholism, introduced the audience to the roles his Family members played in his life and concluded with him describing his lifestyle over the last 20 years sober.
McGrenahan said today he's toured over 100 military installations with his presentation. The military wanted a different message and approach to alcohol and substance abuse awareness, he added.
His presentation took place twice each day and counted as one hour of credit for annual ASAP training. Although the comedy show halted the fair twice each day, personnel filled the gym floor, gathered in the bleachers and gave the comedian a standing ovation at the end of his program.
Attendees also had the chance to talk with McGrenahan personally after the show, look at photos of Family members featured in his act and had the opportunity to enter a drawing for the book he's featured in, "I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics" by visiting his website.
In addition to learning about the effects of alcohol and drugs, attendees visited agencies and organizations which provided a variety of safety information. The types of prevention and awareness included nature-related safety measures such as knowledge of local wildlife, forest fire prevention and camping ethics. Coronado National Forest, Karchner Caverns, Huachuca Area Herpetological Association and Friends of the San Pedro River were some of the organizations providing this information.
Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center was present with several booths dedicated to not only safety information but tips to keep Families healthy this summer. Outside the gym, attendees toured a tent dedicated to motorcycle safety.
Off-post fair participants included the Sierra Vista Police Department. Officers gave stun gun demonstrations and introduced expo visitors to different types of inexpensive home alarm kits and proper door locks.
One frequented off-post booth was USAA Bank's driving simulation. Volunteers took a virtual test to see if they could successfully drive a vehicle while texting. After the demonstration, booth staff members asked the participants to sign a pledge not to text and drive at the same time.
Besides USAA, the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program was another organization which had attendees active by signing a banner with words of encouragement for victims of sexual assault.
While the safety fair was packed with helpful tips and prevention for all, attendees also walked away with literature and giveaways.