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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard fun runs highlight the 'Power of One' in suicide prevention

Power of One ST PAUL, Minn - The Minnesota National Guard hosted two suicide prevention fun runs at Camp Ripley and Arden Hills Army Training Site, September 12-13, 2015, to raise awareness and establish a renewed emphasis on preventing suicide The events focused on the "Power of One," or the ability of one person to make a difference and save a life

"It's the power of that one person - you - just to make that simple act of asking, of reaching out and letting that veteran or that Service member, neighbor, loved one or family member, know that they're not alone," said Maj Ron Jarvi, Minnesota National Guard Resilience, Risk Reduction and Suicide Prevention program manager

Over the last eight years, the Minnesota National Guard has had the highest rate of suicide ideation, averaging five suicides per year In the last eight years, 40 Minnesota National Guardsmen decided their only option was a permanent solution to a temporary problem

"Life is too precious to allow temporary problems to become so overwhelming that one believes there are no alternatives," said Command Sgt Maj Douglas Wortham, Minnesota National Guard Senior Enlisted Advisor "I'm here today to tell you there are alternatives I'm here to tell you - regardless of the situation - tomorrow will bring new opportunities I'm here to tell you, I care"

This past weekend the Minnesota National Guard also premiered a new suicide prevention video titled, "I'm Only Human" The video is meant to challenge perceptions about how to handle risk factors for suicide and illustrates how protective factors can enhance resilience and contribute to a meaningful life "I'm Only Human" reminds Service members that not only is it okay to reach out for help, it is a sign of strength to recognize a problem and accept help from others

"Although we are only human, together we can save those in need by being aware of indicators and knowing the available resources," said Wortham "Together we can support those in need by reinforcing the strength that is demonstrated in reaching out and seeking help Together we can assist those in need to find an alternative solution to a temporary problem Together, we can protect our most precious resource - our people"

Prior to the run at Arden Hills, Janet Benz, whose son, Christopher, died by suicide at age 17, shared her story as a survivor of suicide With a background in clinical care, nursing and hospice, Benz thought that she was equipped to recognize the warning signs of suicide Through the Christopher Benz Foundation, she now works with local Minnesota communities to raise awareness about preventing suicide in teenagers and young adults

"Decades of dealing with grief and loss could not prepare me for the loss of my son to suicide," said Benz "Never in a million years would I have thought that I would end up losing a child to suicide I hope that by sharing our story that the warning signs of suicide will be on your radar and that you'll be more prepared to help save a life"

Those gathered also heard from Jamie Tworkowski, author of the bestseller "If You Feel Too Much" and founder of To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide

Tworkowski likened seeking help for mental illness to seeking help for physical ailments such as a sprained ankle He suggested that just as there is no stigma in seeking help for a physical injury or illness, there should be no stigma in seeking help for mental ailments

"The brain is part of the body and for some reason as a society we don't approach it the same way But what if we talked about mental health and we talked about suicide prevention the exact same way that we talk about broken arms and sprained ankles?"

Participants in the runs were able to connect with resources and organizations in their local communities that can provide assistance Along the route of the 5k run, runners stopped at stations designed to help them identify risk factors, warning signs and protective factors of suicide For many of those gathered, the event was a welcome change from annual powerpoint presentations on suicide prevention

"I implore you ask for help if you need it, offer help to those in need and do everything you can to eliminate suicides in our National Guard," said Wortham

September 14, 2015
by Master Sgt Blair Heusdens
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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