SemperFit educates Fightertown on healthier lifestyles

7 May 2004 | Lance Cpl. C. Alex Herron

Semper Fit Health Promotions, the Drug Demand Reduction Coordinator and other Air Station organizations came together for the Annual Health Fair at the Log Cabin, April 28.

The health fair was held to highlight April as National Alcohol Awareness Month.

“We wanted to combine the alcohol awareness point and add a healthy lifestyles idea to create an overall health message,” said Crystal Dilliard, director, Semper Fit Health Promotions. “We want to increase awareness, promote healthy lifestyles and educate Marines and their families.”

The health fair consisted of a drunk driving simulator, the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Mobile Wellness Unit and booths set up by Semper Fit to educate participants about stress management, exercise and more.

“We set up the booths to talk about 10 topics for a healthy lifestyle,” Dilliard said. “Anything from drugs and alcohol to traffic and workplace issues. Each of these booths was operated by a health care professional from the Naval Hospital.”

Along with the  Healthy Lifestyle Booths, Beaufort Memorial Hospital lent their mobile wellness unit to the event.

“Thanks to Beaufort Memorial we were able to get participants blood pressure and blood sugar screenings,” Dilliard said.

With all the different booths and screening points, the biggest attraction was the drunk driving simulator.

“Our simulator shows people what could happen if a person gets behind the wheel with different blood-alcohol levels,” said Chris Leysbeek, simulator operator, Edu-tainment Incorporated. “It is a way to experience being intoxicated while being totally sober.”

The DDRC heard of the drunk driving simulator doing different projects with colleges and high schools and thought it would be a good idea to bring it aboard the Air Station.

“After I heard of the simulator I thought it would be a good idea for our base because we live in a VH-1 and MTV world and lectures aren’t nearly as effective as hands-on education,” said Gayle Wierzbicki, DDRC, MCCS. “You can’t put a price on a life, so if we spared just one person a tragedy it was well worth it.”

The simulator makes the car drunk instead of the driver. The car starts to have a slower reaction time when settings are changed.

“It was fun and it makes you think,” said Cpl. Chris Marley, powerplants, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31. “It lets you see the world through the eyes of a drunk driver. It is like the car is drunk.”

An event like this could not have happened without the support of the commands aboard the Air Station and the individuals who worked to get all the setup accomplished, according to Dilliard.

“This would not have been possible without the Marines and ‘Civilian Marines’ who came out to help set up tents, work at booths and the Single Marine Program to serve a free lunch,” Dilliard said. “We work a lot to organize an event like this, but if it weren’t for everyone who came out to help, this never would have happened.”