News: Thousands of National Guard members run the 28th Army Ten-Miler, focus on building resiliency
Story by Sgt. Darron Salzer
ARLINGTON, Va. – Several thousand members of the National Guard were among the approximately 30,000 registered military and civilian participants for the 28th running of the Army Ten-Miler here today.
The race is the Army’s premiere running event, and is the third largest in the world and attracts several competitors, such as Army Sgt. 1st Class Tera Vandenheuvel, more than once.
“This was my third Army Ten-Miler,” said Vandenheuvel, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Solder and Family Support Division at the Army National Guard headquarters. “I do it every single year [because] it’s a great cause and I love to be out here and run.”
This year, as in every year, the National Guard set up what they call a HOOAH! tent – a place for competitors to gather after the race and support one another. This year, the theme of that tent was about resiliency.
“This year’s theme is ‘Shoulder to shoulder: We stand for life,’” she said. “This year we’ve experienced one of the highest suicide rates among our soldiers, and we recognized that being resilient is part of suicide prevention. A resilient soldier is a ready soldier, and a ready soldier will make less risky behavioral decisions.”
Vandenheuvel is a resilient soldier herself, and uses running as the mechanism to maintain that attitude.
“Running has always been a big thing for me,” she said, “just to stay resilient. [Running is] always a challenge – there’s always great rewards, there’s great challenges – and it’s a personal victory and I love that it’s about competing within yourself and meeting your own goals, more so than racing the person next to you.”
Vandenheuvel said it was just as equally important for the public to be aware of the issue of suicide and how resiliency can help build a stronger force as it was for the military to understand.
“We need to bring awareness, not only to the rising suicide rates, but also to the health of our force,” she said. “We always focus on our soldiers being mentally and physically strong, but sometimes they just are not,” however, being resilient is not only knowing when you need to ask for help, but providing help as well.
“It’s really important that we get out here and show that it’s okay – we’re all here for each other,” she said.
Senior leaders of the National Guard recognized the need for awareness too and how the HOOAH! tent can provide that, but also that it is a tool for camaraderie between the services and the public.
“It’s a great way for the Army camaraderie to come together,” said Army Gen. Frank Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau. “We have a number of states that participated today, and we have the National Guard HOOAH! Tent here so … we have a place to gather up and get a chance to talk about the accomplishments of our Guard here today, and also talk [to the public] about what we do as the Guard with our active and Reserve counterparts.”
And those accomplishments show the strength of the National Guard as a member of the total force, said Grass.
“We have the strongest National Guard we’ve ever had in our 375 year history, and we are going to remain strong,” he said.
This work, Thousands of National Guard members run the 28th Army Ten-Miler, focus on building resiliency, by SSG Darron Salzer, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.