Soldiers caring for Soldiers

Story and photo by Rick Scavetta
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

While many folks during the recent holiday season were filled with festive cheer, some Soldiers living in the barracks overseas might have found themselves facing the holidays blues.

At U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, volunteers from Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers hung door hangers ― roughly the size of your average “do not disturb” sign ― with important suicide prevention awareness information on every barracks door in the area.

“It means a great deal to me to have all the Soldiers remember they are needed, that they are loved and we hope that everybody will make the right decision,” said Spc. Travis Housekeeper, assigned to Company B, LRMC.

While statistics show that suicide rates don’t necessarily spike during the holidays, there’s always a chance of catching the holiday blues, said Lisa Velez, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s Suicide Prevention Program lead prevention coordinator.

In all, 40 BOSS volunteers successfully completed the daylong project, using more than 1,215 door hangers, said Susanna Leist, the garrison’s recreation delivery system coordinator. They left their marks on barracks in Landstuhl, Miesau, Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Daenner Kaserne, Kleber Kaserne and Sembach Kaserne, she said.

The BOSS program, part of Kaiserslauterns Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, supports several community events, but suicide prevention awareness is personal to Soldiers, said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Kufro, Company A, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, who took part in the event.

“It’s very important to look after and take care of each other and make sure we’re taking care of our battle buddies,” Kufro said.