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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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Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.

Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

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