FORT HOOD, Texas – As a nation, there has been much adversity felt throughout 2020. Every Soldier is a valued member of the Army Family and as new challenges arise, it’s important for Soldiers to strengthen their resilience through hard times and good.
The 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command held a leader professional development session Nov. 19. The event was hosted by Chaplain (Maj.) William Breckenridge, the 1st Med. Bde. Chaplain, with former National Football player, James Dearth, serving as the guest speaker.
Whether in the military or the civilian sector, development as a leader comes in many forms.
“Today, you’re going to hear a different yet similar story of a man who learned through hard work and dedication, to be a team player for the greater good of his organization,” Breckenridge said.
Dearth spent 12-years in the NFL and comes from a military Family so he has a passion for those who serve.
“I grew up with this love for our country and for our Soldiers,” Dearth said. “You’re living a life of sacrifice, and that sacrifice speaks volumes.”
It was early on in his sports career when Dearth realized what it was to show leadership, and that’s when he became a better person and teammate.
“I started building my teammates up,” Dearth said. “We were able to dominate because we built each other up, and that’s what being a team is all about. I learned how to be a teammate. I learned how to be a leader.”
Dearth also credits his spirituality for how he was able to become the leader is was, and still is today.
“My growth after I gave my life to the lord, mentally, it really took off,” Dearth said.
As Dearth continued his spiritual growth, he learned to put people first, because that’s what leaders do.
“I was able to help my teammates not only on the football field but off the field when they had issues,” Dearth explained. “Life for me was no longer about football, it was about relationships. The best leaders I know are able to build relationships better than anybody.”
Dearth spoke with Soldiers about his own personal experiences with pain, depression and perseverance. After he shared his experiences, Dearth urged Soldiers to stay physically, mentally and spiritually resilient.
“For the longest time I denied it and wanted to fight against it,” Dearth said. “There’s no way I have depression.”
Sometimes, people try to handle the tough times on their own, but getting the help of others is something beneficial to all.
“We have to be honest with ourselves,” Dearth said. “There are things we need to address with these scars in in our lives so we need others. It’s ok to admit our weaknesses. That’s why we build relationships so we can strengthen each other.”
Dearth shared his deep, personal experiences those in attendance, and it was something appreciated by all.
“I appreciate the fact that this extremely strong man admits that he did go through periods of darkness,” Breckenridge said. “I guarantee there are people in this room that have experienced that as well. Don’t feel like you’re alone. You can reach out to people.”
For more information on resiliency, please visit: https://www.armyresilience.army.mil/.
If you, a battle buddy or Family member is struggling through these difficult times and feels alone, please reach out to your unit ministry team or these resources: The Military Crisis Line: 800-273-8255, Press 1; The Military OneSource: 800-342-9647 or the Safe Helpline: 877-995-5247.