Fort Detrick service members gathered in front of Bldg. 810 Oct. 4 for a 3-mile run to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
Participants arrived in the dark, early morning hours, some with children and pets who ran alongside them. Soldiers ran in formation with their respective organizations from the Blue & Grey field to Nallin pond and back again. A second group of participants walked laps around the field while the run was underway.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho spoke to runners after the completion of the exercise, thanking them all for their participation. He also spoke at length about the importance of suicide prevention within the armed services, and encouraged service members to be vigilant for the warning signs in colleagues who might be feeling depressed or isolated. Caravalho stressed that no one is immune to the desperation that leads many to take their own lives.
The run took place in spite of the ongoing furlough that has put a stop to many other organized events on post. Caravalho and Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Stuart explained that the run was important as a camaraderie-strengthening exercise that would aid the members of Fort Detrick in suicide prevention. More than 190 U.S. servicemen and women have committed suicide this year alone, and in 2012 over 300 Soldiers took their own lives.
Military guidelines on suicide encourage Soldiers to listen to the problems of others who may be thinking about suicide, and to be firm in getting them the help of a trained therapist.