Chaplains create connections through ice cream socials

  • Published
  • By Lemitchel King
  • Air Force Sustainment Center

Chaplains and staff from the Tinker Air Force Base Chapel discovered a tasty way to support their National Suicide Prevention Awareness month efforts by sponsoring an ice cream social, using ice cream truck vendors at various locations around the installation.

The idea, initially presented by Capt. Myron Edmonds, 72nd Air Base Wing chaplain, with coordinating support by chaplains Capt. Martin Lister and 1st Lt. Pira Tritasavit, followed this year’s theme, “Connect to Protect: Support Is Within Reach.” The theme focuses on the importance of interpersonal connections to family, friends, coworkers, the community and resources that support those who may exhibit signs of suicide risk, such as hopelessness, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.

“The chapel team wanted to do something innovative to address suicide during this suicide prevention month. It was our desire to celebrate life, as opposed to simply talking about death,” said Edmonds.

Chaplains and staff are available year-round with continuous unit engagement and ongoing dialogue with Airman about taking care of themselves and each other, with respect to mental health and spiritual resilience. Events like these give the chapel team an opportunity to interact with people in a relaxed setting and share how their team can help in times of distress.

“The win for today was to build morale and encourage all to be advocates for the value of life,” said Edmonds. “We believed we sent a strong message that reaching out for help for oneself or for an Airman is a sign of strength, not weakness.”

Service members, veterans, DoD civilians and their families can find suicide prevention resources at their local chapel, the U.S. Air Force Resilience website or from the services below.

Military OneSource - 800-342-9647

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - 888-333-2377

Veterans/Military Crisis Line - 800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800-273-8255

Employee Assistance Program – 866-580-9078