By By Staff Sgt. Dijon RolleSeptember 30, 2009
MANNHEIM, Germany -- "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," Maj. Kristal Bryant, Army Public Health Nurse, said at the Mannheim Community Public Health Clinic, and although she didn't coin the phrase herself, it's one she certainly stands behind.
Bryant was one of the many faces representing an array of clinics and resources available to Soldiers and visitors attending the first ever Coleman Barracks Health and Dental Clinic health fair Sept. 25. One of her missions was to talk to Soldiers about preventing sexually transmitted diseases and other avoidable problems that can knock them out of the fight.
"We definitely want people to take whatever protective measures that they can, hand washing, using hand sanitizer, coughing and sneezing in their sleeve, getting their flu vaccine ... doing whatever they can to keep themselves healthy," she said. "It's a lot easier then treating something later on down the line."
The Virginia Beach, Va., native is new to the Mannheim community, but she says she's all about using the old-school method of going out into the community directly and talking to troops face to face.
"We're all out here where the Soldiers are," Bryant said. "This is where we'll hit the most of them right out here, and we can consolidate our efforts. Coming to the Soldier ... bringing the information to the Soldier instead of bringing the Soldiers to us. We can get a bigger bang for our buck out here with them."
One of those Soldiers was Staff Sgt. Tasha Carr, a heavy wheel vehicle operator from the 68th Transportation Company. Carr made the rounds at several of the stations set up on the physical training field on Coleman Barracks behind the base's dining facility.
"I had a chance to look at the blood pressure and body fat monitor. That was a good station, and the American Red Cross because they gave out CPR dates, which I do want to go to," said Carr, who also came out to get information for her Soldiers. It would actually help me as an NCO because it gives me resources for my Soldiers. If I have a Soldier that is overweight or I feel they are getting ready to be borderline, I can send them to this program I found out about where they measure the body index and fitness," she said. "It was at one of the stations, and I actually learned a lot from it. I think it will actually help a lot of Soldiers because a lot of people don't know about it."
Other tables and displays featured resources from Army Community Service, the Red Cross, the Chaplain Corps and others designed to reinforce the overall concept of mental, physical and spiritual wellness for troops and their families.
Wendy Couch is a nurse at the Coleman Health Clinic, and she explained why they wanted to put together the clinic's first-ever health fair, which was held as part of Health Care Benefits Awareness Month.
"We wanted to give the Soldiers an opportunity to see what's available in the community ultimately to raise the medical readiness of the Soldiers," Couch said. "Our goal was to show them the services that are available and maybe different avenues to get around any hurdles they may have to take care of themselves."
The day also included some friendly competition and tasty refreshments as unit teams battled it out on the softball and volleyball courts and downed hot dogs and chili in the September sun shine.
The health fair was also the perfect occasion to mark the official rededication of the Coleman Barracks Health and Dental Clinic after a yearlong million-dollar renovation.
The clinic has a new motto, "Always Better," which is essence means this staff of warriors, healers and leaders is always looking to improve on everything they do.
"It is my vision that this clinic represent and provide support of all the tenants of health care in a concerted effort ... by that I mean your medical, dental and spiritual needs," said Lt. Col Daniel Irizarry, Coleman Medical Clinic commander.
"You will see a sincere effort over this next year that brings Coleman Health Clinic to your community, and that's really where it should be," he added. "However, this clinic is only part of the health care equation. We will need your efforts as leaders and the support of our patients if we are to meet these important goals."
(Editor's Note: Staff Sgt. Dijon Rolle volunteers for the USAG Mannheim Public Affairs Office)