Wing stands down for ARI awareness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Holly Mansfield
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

The 81st Training Wing held a wing-wide alcohol related incident stand down event June 29.

Each group within the wing gathered in separate locations around Keesler to discus ARIs and ways to prevent them from happening.

“We discussed our personal reasons for not taking any risks dealing with,” said Tech. Sgt. DeMonique Pettaway, 81st TRW Equal Opportunity NCO in charge. “As the Wing Staff Agency facilitator, I spoke on the importance of being a true wingman – not just saying you’re a wingman but making your actions back those words up. If someone calls you in the middle of the night for help they really need your help, not your lecture.”

The event was an open discussion and allowed each Airman in attendance to give examples of how they have been affected by an ARI incident or how they have helped prevent one from happening.

“We listened to people who had personally experienced a situation with ARIs and looked at the faces of those that still felt pain from losing a family member or friend due to someone drinking and driving,” said Pettaway. “We had a member share their story of overcoming alcoholism by getting help before anything negative impacted his career. It was great to hear his story and know you can be in the military, get help for an addiction, overcome the addiction and still continue your career.”

Attendees watched videos detailing local and military laws regarding drinking and driving. The videos also featured stories from Airmen who have been directly impacted by ARIs to help bring a personal view on how one person drinking and driving can affect those around them.   

“Scott was a great friend to me and we hung out a lot while going through college and after I joined the Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Shane Heavener, 81st TRW Staff Judge Advocate. “He was hit while driving by a drunk driver. I remember getting the call from another friend that he was in the hospital. I remember going to the trial and seeing Scott’s brother take the stand and talk about how his family was impacted by the incident and it was so painful for me.”

Col. Michele Edmondson, 81st TRW commander, also went over the repercussions of committing or letting a fellow Airman get an ARI and her personal reasons for not drinking and driving.

“I have thought about my reasons to not drink and drive,” said Edmondson. “I would lose my career, the privilege I have to lead this wing, and the respect of leaders, peers, and subordinates that I’ve worked for 23 years to develop and maintain. More personally, I have a wonderful husband and two children who need me. I have my reasons not to drink and drive. What are yours?”   

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