Fort McCoy News April 22, 2016

Community members race to promote awareness

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

More than 250 Fort McCoy community members participated in the "Showering Awareness of Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention" event April 13 in front of Rumpel Fitness Center.

The April Showers 5K Run/Walk event served as Fort McCoy's observance of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Prior to the run/walk, a ceremony was held to read and sign the Fort McCoy proclamations for both monthly observances.

Fort McCoy Family Advocacy Program (FAP) Manager Carrie Olson with Army Community Service (ACS) first read the Child Abuse Prevention Month proclamation, which highlighted the month's 2016 theme, "Child Safety to Prevent Child Neglect."

Participants in the April Showers 5K Run/Walk take off from the starting line April 13 at Fort McCoy's Rumpel Fitness Center.
Participants in the April Showers 5K Run/Walk take off from the starting
line April 13 at Fort McCoy's Rumpel Fitness Center.

"The president of the United States is calling on all of us — military and civilian, parents and nonparents — to unite for a common goal — to end child abuse," Olson said. "We stand with the president and call upon you to make a commitment to this prevention effort. Children are the future of our nation. It is our job to ensure they grow up in a stable and nurturing environment. It is our job to think of them first and keep them safe."

"Without every one of us doing our part, we cannot say our Army is fully ready to build a strong and resilient community," Olson said. "We are committed to ending child abuse and educating our community on prevention methods."

Garrison Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Jamie Cram followed Olson to explain the importance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and its 2016 theme — "Sexual Assault. Sexual Harassment. Not in Our Army."

"It is our job to make that a reality, to make it more than something we say, and into something we do," said Cram, one of the event organizers. "Although we recognize prevention efforts during this month, make no mistake this theme must remain a year-round commitment for every member of the Army Team. Sexual violence continues to plague our community, our Families, and our military. In 2014, approximately 20,300 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen were sexually assaulted. While that number is lessening, if even one person is assaulted then we have fallen short of our goal for readiness.

"It is about more than being politically correct, it is about caring for and respecting the people that we work with, live with, and that surround us," Cram said. "We remain personally committed to eliminating sexual assault and harassment from our Army."
Garrison Commander Col. David J. Pinter Sr. led the way in being the first person to sign the proclamations. Representatives from 181st Infantry Brigade, 86th Training Division, 88th Regional Support Command, Regional Training Site-Medical, and the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) followed suit.

Garrison Commander Col. David J. Pinter Sr. signs the Fort McCoy proclamations acknowledging April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Garrison Commander Col. David J. Pinter Sr. signs the Fort McCoy
proclamations acknowledging April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

"It's a great turnout here today," Pinter said. "I appreciate everybody's support for the prevention of child abuse and sexual harassment (and assault)."

Staff Sgt. Robert Gordon, a training NCO and SHARP representative with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Fort McCoy, participated in the event. He said events like this are important for raising awareness to important issues.

"Any time you can bring people together to support a good cause like this is always good for the community," Gordon said.

More than 20 personnel with the NCOA participated in the event. NCOA Operations Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Busko, one of the participants, said all of the Soldiers were proud to support the effort. "We must continue to bring awareness to all Soldiers and Family members that there is zero tolerance for sexual-assault and child abuse in today's Army and our community," he said.

Inside the fitness center, several information displays were set up highlighting prevention of sexual assault and child abuse. The "Teen No More Task Force" with the School-Age Center/Youth Center (SAC/YC) also had a display.

"Our teen representative provided another place where people could get information and also write their own reasons why there should be 'no more' sexual assault, abuse, or violence," said SAC/YC Director Cori Yahnke.

Cram said the event was a complete success.

"I am proud that our Fort McCoy leaders have so actively supported the Family Advocacy Program and SHARP program," Cram said. "This jointly sponsored 5K event is the first time the garrison, along with many tenant organizations, have all come together to sponsor a Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month event. I hope to continue the momentum of working side by side with all organizations on Fort McCoy to improve both the FAP and SHARP programs. The garrison SHARP and FAP offices always are available for collaboration and suggestions for improvements."

Michael Western earned first place in the male category of the 5K with a run time of 18:41, and Emily Nerison earned first place in the female category with a run time of 22:07.

For more information about other FAP- and SHARP-related events, call 608-388-2412/8989. For more information about Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation events, call 608-388-3200.