By Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Being an Airmen means more than being an expert at your job. All Airmen have the responsibility to be fit to fight, physically and mentally.
Whether you need a physical boost to help pass your next PT test, are looking for nutritional guidance, or simply need to clear your mind, the 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Health and Wellness Center can help.
The HAWC at Little Rock Air Force Base has a mission which involves improving lives.
“We build strong, healthy communities with education and action,” said Jeff Vaughn, 19th AMDS HAWC flight chief/health educator.
The HAWC is comprised of four DOD civilians. The mission of the team involves four main objectives.
“Our first objective is to use fitness programming to improve the physical health nutritional health, and mental health of Airmen, family members, DOD civilians and retirees,” said Vaughn.
As the HAWC’s second objective, the team provides classes and tips which promote healthy eating and nutrition education.
The third objective is to decrease musculoskeletal injuries and pain through mobility training and improving movement patterns.
Lastly, the fourth objective of the HAWC is to decrease tobacco use through tobacco cessation programming and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
The HAWC receives numerous testimonials for their work.
One such testimonial from Master Sgt. Raymond DeGarmo, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron safety/security information assurance officer, shows how hard the team worked to assist with one main objective.
“I used to smoke for a very large part of my life,” said DeGarmo. “I’d always talked about quitting; however previous attempts were half-hearted, and eventually I fell back into the same habits.”
After the health of DeGarmo’s wife started to deteriorate, he thought about how his habits would keep her from getting better.
“I chose to quit smoking for the health of our family,” said DeGarmo.
DeGarmo then went to the HAWC for help.
“It was the best thing I could have done,” said DeGarmo. “Quitting on my own beforehand only worked for the short term, but after getting help from the HAWC, I was able to do more than I could on my own.”
To help him quit, DeGarmo was put on medication and took the things out of his life that influenced him to smoke.
“I have been free from cigarettes since April of 2012,” DeGarmo said.
DeGarmo said the journey wasn’t easy; his biggest obstacle was having a true desire to end the habit.
“It was hard, but anything of value takes time and hard work,” said DeGarmo. “I can’t say that I miss smoking. The biggest problem for me was ‘wanting’ to quit. I was hooked on nicotine and was in denial of my addiction.”
DeGarmo now encourages others to quit smoking and break the cycle.
“Give it 45 days, and see if you can break your habit,” said DeGarmo. “Our kids follow our examples, and now I can be a positive example of how you can overcome the largest obstacles when you put your mind to something and keep focused.”
DeGarmo’s story is one of many. The HAWC has success stories for each one of their life improvement mission objectives.
Team Little Rock’s HAWC team was recognized for their achievements in 2012, winning the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Exercise Team Award. Recently, the team won the 2014 Federal Executive Association of Arkansas Team Award.
The HAWC is located at the fitness center and can be reached at (501) 987-7398. Call to find out more about the number of unique classes offered.