Airmen participate in first-ever Wingman Wellness Week
By Major Elaine Nowak, 107th Airlift Wing
/ Published June 12, 2016
NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION -- June 6-12, 2016 was an enriching time for the Airmen of the 107th Airlift Wing as they participated in the first ever Wingman Wellness Week here.
The week included classes and activities focused on enhancing the resiliency of Airmen in the areas of mental, social, physical and spiritual fitness. The four areas are referred to as "Comprehensive Airman Fitness" by the U.S. Air Force.
Various classes, including yoga, meditation, self-defense, benefits briefings, nutrition seminars and financial planning seminars, were held for members to choose from throughout the week.
Air Guard units are typically required to hold an annual "Wingman Day" where they pause their regular work to focus on suicide prevention and resiliency. A committee decided to take Wingman Day and expand it into a week that focused on the four pillars of comprehensive fitness. Jeanne W. Goetze, 107th Wing Airmen and Family Program Coordinator was part of the planning team.
"Our hope is that everyone will incorporate wellness as a way of life, making healthy lifestyle changes, versus just participating in a program," said Goetze.
The focus of the week's events were preventative in nature. For example, personal fiscal irresponsibility can have a negative impact on an Airman's career and security clearance. Five different financial seminars were offered to educate members.
A "Wellness Fair" was held Saturday, June 11. The event took place at the Heritage Center at Niagara and included about 20 different organizations. Booths included veterans' services, healthcare, chiropractic care, healthy foods, job search assistance, wellness center services and acupuncture among others.
Kristine L. Koch, a licensed esthetician from Soma Cura Wellness Center of Grand Island, N.Y., was one of the volunteers at the Wellness Fair. She gave members a hand paraffin dip and massage service.
"We are thrilled to be here. It's nice to give something back to you who serve so much, even if it is just a hand message," Koch said.
Across the wing, favorable feedback was given for Wellness Week. Master Sgt. Melissa N. Shenefiel of the 107th Mission Support Group participated in several of the activities and the fair.
"I think this is exactly what we needed for a morale and wellness booster, and it's working," she said.
Major Kiley O. Hand, one of the Wing Master Resilience Trainers, believes the event's success comes from the diversity of the offerings of classes and activities.
"There was something for everyone and it has caused people to stretch outside of their comfort zones. But when they did, they found something that they really like," said Hand. "It opened our eyes to things some of us were not accustomed to such as yoga."