MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Building the Warrior Within, an interactive event focused on mental, emotional and physical fitness for service members, visited Marine Corps Installations East on Sept. 19 and Sept. 21 with interactive events all around the theme of suicide prevention.
"The purpose of this event was to help service members and their families become familiar with the places to go and people to see when experiencing suicidal thoughts or other kinds of issues," said Lt. Cmdr. Raynard Allen, command chaplain for Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron on Marine Corps Air Station New River.
Hundreds of Marines, Sailors and civilians attended the events on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, interacting with the various exhibits that displayed information about suicide prevention and personal wellness.
"Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, to lose one Marine to suicide is one too many," said Allen. "We have 20 people who commit suicide every day, that why is it important that we talk about this issue."
Heisman trophy winner and professional athlete, Herschel Walker, shared his story of overcoming mental, physical and emotional problems throughout his entire life, and the strides he’s made to become a better person with service members in the audience.
Herschel Walker’s story was very inspiring," said Allen. "His journey through life as professional athlete, businessman, author and most importantly, as an advocate for mental health struggles was very helpful and encouraging to others to come forward with their struggles," said Allen. "As he stressed, no one should think that because they have a struggle, it is a sign of weakness."
Building the Warrior Within is a yearly event on Camp Lejeune and New River Air Station respectively, allowing service members to learn ways to cope with stress and depression.
"We have too many service members who are having difficulties dealing with life’s stresses, that affect their personal and professional life," said Allen. "We needed to provide them with coping skills to get through difficult challenges."