Wingman Advocates and reaching out

Wednesday , July 21, 2010 - 3:19 PM

Mary Lou Gorny - Hilltop Times editor

Wingman Advocates and the Wingman concept are an important part of the efforts at Hill Air Force Base to carry the message of reaching out to others. The Wingman concept carries the weight of historical Air Force culture as the one who has your back -- the person who flies with you and supports you in your mission.

Rita Roybal, Wingman Advocate Program Manager, said that what makes the Wingman concept so powerful is how such positive actions have a tendency to spread. She paraphrased the findings of a scientific study: "When somebody does an act of kindness or an act of humanity towards someone, not only does it help the person who they're assisting -- it helps them. Even greater than that, anybody who has observed it, it also changes the brain chemistry inside the observer -- so all three or four or however many people there are who are present when this happens, benefits highly."

The Wingman concept is powerful, she said, through the random acts of kindness and the humanity that people give one another.

"The idea behind (the Wingman concept) is that we support one another. It sort of falls in several of the different areas of wellness, (including) a very strong spiritual connection -- when we realize that when we help one person we're helping ourselves in a way and that we're helping others," Roybal said.

"You never know what the impact of a kindness will have on someone. People will have no idea that it could have changed somebody's course in their life, from making the quality of their life completely different, feeling like they're valuable -- to even saving a life.

"Small little things make a huge difference," she said. "Pay it forward. If somebody does something kind for you, or remembers -- even if it's just keeping the door open when you're going in or when you see somebody coming -- any little thing -- those small little random acts have a profound effect."

She concludes, "The only way we make the Wingman concept real and not just a catchy phrase is with people -- everyday folks out there working hard, remembering to be mindful of that."

Wingman Advocates at Hill AFB are available at (801) 777-CALL or (801) 777-2255.

Other sources of help are available as follows:

  • Military Family Life Consultant at (801) 586-8582 or (801) 388-2501
  • Employee Assistance Program (Civilian Assistance) at (801) 222-0364 which is free regardless of your health coverage
  • Team Hill Chaplain at (801) 777-3007
  • Mental Health at (801) 777-7909 (For active duty during duty hours)
  • Military One Source at 1 (800) 342-9647
  • Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at (801) 777-1985 or (801) 920-9179
  • Northern Utah Suicide Hotline at (801) 625-3700, a 24-hour hot line

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