By Capt. Cain S Claxton (593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command)September 22, 2017
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. -- Soldiers of the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command attended an annual suicide awareness and prevention training expo Sept. 21-22 at the JBLM-North Chapel.
The event, named "Care for 22" because studies show there are as many as 22 Veteran suicides a day, focused on suicide prevention measures and resources to build unit readiness.
"The care for 22 program will encourage holistic wellness readiness and resiliency," said Col. James Moore, ESC commander, in his opening remarks. "This will strengthen our military readiness. And it's readiness for your families, too."
"So many forces exist in the world today to cause Soldiers and Family Members to lose hope, to feel helpless and sometimes to feel alone," Moore said.
To help Soldiers and their families fight those desperate feelings, Care for 22 brought in about a dozen program representatives from across JBLM, including Staff Sgt. Vanessa Vinson from the 98th Medical Detachment Combat Stress Control.
"We're here to tell you that you are not alone," Vinson told a group of Soldiers from the 62nd Medical Brigade.
Vinson and other speakers had just 20 minutes each to talk about their programs' resources before another group of Soldiers came through.
"It really opens up our eyes to all the agencies out there," said Spc. Marquez Grimes, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 593rd ESC. "I know first-hand the benefits of it. Whether a specialist or a sergeant major, you are not going to have all the answers."
In August, Soldiers of 593rd were issued "Value of Life" cards -- business card-sized reminders with life-saving behaviors and principles printed on front and back. One side of the card reads in part, "Your life matters, you are here to proudly serve and make a difference in the world … Choose life today: Stay connected with your friends, family and Army team. Proactively and boldly seek help when you need it."
The cards are part of America's First Corps' effort to help leaders and Soldiers talk more openly about suicide, especially, "the value of life."
"In the 593rd we are going to promote 'Value of Life' across the organization," Moore told his Soldiers. "The 'Value of Life' is a team effort. It is going to involve all of us pulling together, the various resources and team members to support our Soldiers and our Family Members."