MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- What do beer goggles, hot dogs, and strapping yourself into a car have in common? Answer: keeping Marines safe during this upcoming holiday season.
Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune hosted their first annual ‘Winter Safety Fair’ at Marston Pavilion here Dec. 7.
“We’re here to better educate our Marines regarding operational risk management, situational awareness, emergency procedures and action plans, off-duty safety with an emphasis on personal motor vehicles including motorcycles and seasonal weather safety,” said Sgt David J. Edger, logistics chief for Headquarters and Support Battalion.
In the pavilion parking lot Marines were greeted with free lunch, simulated-drunk driving course that uses goggles with altered lenses to reproduce the effects of driving drunk and the ‘The Convincer’, a machine that simulates a five-mile-an-hour-crash.
“Once you put the goggles on your feel like your drunk. I can’t believe someone would actually drive in this state,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Kinney, corrections guard for Brigg Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion.
Also in attendance at the event, each with a booth in the pavilion, were the base chaplains, the Hearing Protection Program, Army Veterinary Treatment Faculty, Base Installations and Environment Department, Marine Corps Community Services Community Counseling Center, MCCS Health Promotions, North Carolina State Police, SemperFit, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Base Safety Division, and booths explaining sexual health and responsibility, tobacco cessation and nutrition and weight management.
The vendors were chosen to provide information on a variety of different topics from personal health and fitness to financial management, said Edger.
“Being a part of this event is important because it gives us a unique opportunity to directly communicate with the Marines. We want the Marines to enjoy their holiday season, but they need to know their limits and think ahead when it comes to drinking at events and parties,” said Christy Alvarez, health promotion prevention and educational promotion specialist for MCCS.
The entire event was preceded by a morning lecture hosted by Col. Adele E. Hodges, commanding officer, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune and Col. David R. Leppelmeier, commanding officer, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Dec. 6 at the base movie theater where Marines were spoken to about topics such as substance abuse, drunk driving, suicide awareness for both themselves and their fellow Marines and stress management.
41 percent of people consider the holiday time somewhat stressful or very stressful so it is important to control the factors of stress such as overspending and poor time management, said Lt. Cmdr. David Shirk, battalion chaplin, Headquarters and Support Battalion.
“The bottom line here is that we’re talking about talking care of Marines and sailors. I’m not asking you to look for people to help, that’d be nice, but just to keep an eye out for the people around you,” said Shirk.