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

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.