JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Grieving the loss of her son to suicide, one Reserve Citizen Airman has a mission to give resiliency a voice.
As part of preparing her squadron to deploy, Chief Master Sgt. Saudi McVea, 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron superintendent, organized to have Tim Brown share his resiliency message to Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 446th Airlift 'Rainier' Wing Dec. 1.
"As a first responder, I can speak firsthand about what it's like to be in stressful situations so I organized Tim Brown to come and share his message, she explained. "I heard Tim speak at another event and was inspired by his message. I felt that our squadron, which is deploying next year, would really benefit from hearing his story."
While McVea was deployed in 2017, her son Bryce, a U.S. Army veteran, lost his life to suicide.
"After Bryce's suicide, I wanted to get more involved in putting together resiliency training for our squadron and the entire wing," she said. "For me, that is a way to put my energies into helping others. I realized resiliency was a huge part of being mentally healthy, and this speaking event is an activity that enhances that wellness."
Brown is a retired, decorated 20-year New York firefighter, a survivor of the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, a first responder to the 1993 terrorist attack on the WTC and a veteran of the New York Urban Search and Rescue Task Force team that responded to the 1995 terrorist attack on the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City.
During the resiliency speaking event, Brown's message focused on how Airmen can become more resilient even in the most tragic of times.
"I am resilience," said Brown. "Leaning on friends and family, and also seeking professional help is what made my anger melt away. It is possible to come out the other side a stronger individual."
Describing in detail his loss during the 9-11 terrorist attacks is a way for Brown to share his resiliency message.
"We care for the badly injured, but don't forget to take care of yourself. We need you. Don't be afraid to talk to a buddy and seek help. Lean on your family, friends, and each other," said Brown.
The wing has many resources for resiliency, including spiritual resiliency.
The 446th AW Chaplain, Lt. Col. Pierre Allegre, also took time to spread the message of kindness and the importance of comprehensive airmen fitness.
"It's important to be there for one another, and to check in. Be kinder than you normally would today because everyone is going through some type of hardship or challenge, whether you know about it or not," said Allegre.
Developing resilient leaders is a strategic priority for the Air Force Reserve Command because a huge part of global mobility readiness is resilience. Nearly 300 Citizen Airmen of the 446th AW will be deploying in what is the largest mobilization since 2009.
For additional information on resiliency, including links to program websites and base specific contacts, you can visit the Air Force Reserve Command's Airmen and Family Readiness web page -- www.afrc.af.mil/About-Us/Airman-Family/.