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59th MDW promotes suicide awareness with Run for Life 5k

Runners who are participating in the 4th Annual 5K Run for Life event take off from the starting line at Heritage Park on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 24, 2016. Nearly 260 Airmen, civilians and their families participated in the event, which was sponsored by the 59th Medical Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Runners who are participating in the 4th Annual 5K Run for Life event take off from the starting line at Heritage Park on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 24, 2016. Nearly 260 Airmen, civilians and their families participated in the event, which was sponsored by the 59th Medical Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Stormy Archer)

Photos and flyers from the Mission 22 organization are displayed at the 4th Annual Run for Life 5k event on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 24, 2016. According to the Mission 22 website, roughly 22 combat veterans commit suicide every day. The organization spreads awareness and acts as a support resource for veterans and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)

Photos and flyers from the Mission 22 organization are displayed at the 4th Annual Run for Life 5k event on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 24, 2016. According to the Mission 22 website, roughly 22 combat veterans commit suicide every day. The organization spreads awareness and acts as a support resource for veterans and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)

Brig. Gen. John DeGoes, 59th Medical Wing vice commander, gives opening remarks at the 4th Annual 5K Run for Life event at Heritage Park on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 24, 2016. Hosted by the 59th Medical Wing, the event coincides with National Suicide Prevention month. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)

Brig. Gen. John DeGoes, 59th Medical Wing vice commander, gives opening remarks at the 4th Annual 5K Run for Life event at Heritage Park on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 24, 2016. Hosted by the 59th Medical Wing, the event coincides with National Suicide Prevention month. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)

Airmen, civilians and their families participating in the 4th Annual 5K Run for Life event pose for a group photo at Heritage Park on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 24, 2016. Hosted by the 59th Medical Wing, the annual event aims to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)

Airmen, civilians and their families participating in the 4th Annual 5K Run for Life event pose for a group photo at Heritage Park on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, Sept. 24, 2016. Hosted by the 59th Medical Wing, the annual event aims to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --

Airmen, government civilians and their family members gathered Saturday at Heritage Park on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas to draw attention to a rising  issue in America today – suicide.

The crowd of nearly 260 took part in the fourth annual “5K Run for Life.” Sponsored by the 59th Medical Wing, the yearly event coincides with National Suicide Prevention Month and aims to raise community awareness of suicide and suicide prevention.

Suicide is a social issue that affects both the civilian and military communities. On average, 20-22 military veterans take their lives every day nationwide, according to statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“This is a wicked problem in our society, and our Air Force – and we – must stand together to face it,” said Brig. Gen. John DeGoes, 59th Medical Wing vice commander, during opening remarks at the event.

Stressing the importance of community and the four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness in building resiliency and combating suicide, DeGoes said, “Taking care of our physical, spiritual, mental and social health is critical to keeping a good balance in our lives. We must be ready to take on life’s challenges.”

Several well established organizations were there to offer suicide awareness and prevention services including Operation Homefront, Mission 22, Project Welcome Home Troops, Military OneSource and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.