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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | May 15, 2024

Oklahoma National Guard holds annual Wellness Day event

By Cpl. Danielle Rayon, Oklahoma National Guard

OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the Oklahoma National Guard gathered to participate in a Wellness Day event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, Oklahoma, May 7, 2024.

The event aimed to educate and equip Soldiers and community partners with tools to promote holistic health and readiness for OKNG service members. Attendees participated in sessions that focused on all areas of overall wellness, including spiritual fitness, social mentorship, sleep and hygiene, and mental resilience.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Nicholls, information operations coordinator for the 45th Field Artillery Brigade, Oklahoma Army National Guard, leads the “Social Wellness: Mentorship” breakout session during a Wellness Day event held at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, Oklahoma, May 7, 2024.and equip Soldiers and community partners with tools to promote holistic health and readiness for its service members. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
SLIDESHOW | images | 240507-Z-IN656-1008 Lt. Col. Benjamin Nicholls, information operations coordinator for the 45th Field Artillery Brigade, Oklahoma Army National Guard, leads the “Social Wellness: Mentorship” breakout session during a Wellness Day event held at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, Oklahoma, May 7, 2024.and equip Soldiers and community partners with tools to promote holistic health and readiness for its service members. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
Oklahoma National Guard service members participate in the “Mental Health: Curiosity and Connections” breakout session during a Wellness Day event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, Oklahoma, May 7, 2024. Planned annually during mental health awareness month, the Wellness Day aims to educate and equip Soldiers and community partners with tools to promote holistic health and readiness for its service members. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
SLIDESHOW | images | 240507-Z-IN656-1007 Oklahoma National Guard service members participate in the “Mental Health: Curiosity and Connections” breakout session during a Wellness Day event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, Oklahoma, May 7, 2024. Planned annually during mental health awareness month, the Wellness Day aims to educate and equip Soldiers and community partners with tools to promote holistic health and readiness for its service members. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
Oklahoma National Guard service members participate in the a breakout session during a Wellness Day event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, Oklahoma, May 7, 2024. Planned annually during mental health awareness month, the Wellness Day aims to educate and equip Soldiers and community partners with tools to promote holistic health and readiness for its service members.  (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
SLIDESHOW | images | 240507-Z-IN656-1003 Oklahoma National Guard service members participate in the a breakout session during a Wellness Day event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, Oklahoma, May 7, 2024. Planned annually during mental health awareness month, the Wellness Day aims to educate and equip Soldiers and community partners with tools to promote holistic health and readiness for its service members. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
Capt. Essence Campbell, human relations/equal opportunity officer, participates in the “Social Wellness: Mentorship” breakout session during a Wellness Day event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, Oklahoma, May 7, 2024. Planned annually during mental health awareness month, the Wellness Day aims to educate and equip Soldiers and community partners with tools to promote holistic health and readiness for its service members.  (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
SLIDESHOW | images | 240507-Z-IN656-1001 Capt. Essence Campbell, human relations/equal opportunity officer, participates in the “Social Wellness: Mentorship” breakout session during a Wellness Day event at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Norman, Oklahoma, May 7, 2024. Planned annually during mental health awareness month, the Wellness Day aims to educate and equip Soldiers and community partners with tools to promote holistic health and readiness for its service members. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)

“The goal is to work collaboratively to help members of our force develop healthy habits and coping skills,” said Col. Lindy White, joint resiliency director for Oklahoma National Guard. “In doing so, I believe we will build a stronger resilience and ready force.”

The wellness event highlights the forward momentum of the OKNG in recognizing and emphasizing the importance of overall wellness, including mental health, in order to maintain a ready, fighting force.

“We’ve seen a shift in understanding that wellness and peak performance go hand in hand with mental health support,” White said. “People are recognizing the benefits of resources, trainings, education and subject matter experts who can guide individuals toward optimal health.”

The event is the latest effort to bring awareness to the Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) program, a newly-implemented program in the OKNG aimed at increasing overall Soldier health, not just physical fitness.

The OKNG plans the Wellness Day event annually during mental health awareness month in an effort to educate service members about available resources regarding all aspects of Soldier health. One such program is the Holistic Health and Fitness program (H2F), aimed at helping members of the force take a more well-rounded approach to health and wellness.

“The H2F is from an active duty model, but we are tailoring it to work for the National Guard,” White said. “It covers the pillars of Mental, Physical, Spiritual, Nutrition and Sleep. Since last year, we have been growing our team, community connections, and capacity to assist our Guard.”

Attendees of the event gained tools that are crucial in promoting and maintaining the health of not only themselves, but the service members they lead.

“We provide tools for attendees and host this event to ensure they know who their Health and Wellness team members are,” White said. “We use this event to educate, equip, and empower those who attend with skills and resources for themselves and those in their unit or wing.”

The emphasis on overall wellness and the implementation of the H2F program demonstrates the OKNG’s vision of fostering a culture that promotes healthy behaviors and creating positive and lasting changes in the mental resilience of its service members.

“We hope to create a culture within the OKNG that promotes help-seeking behaviors, reduce the risks of harmful behaviors, and create an environment where we increase retention and resilience among our service members and their families,” White said.

The wellness event not only provided attendees with valuable skills but also offered a sense of community and support.

“I hope the attendees gained valuable skills to help improve our culture, understand what it means to be trauma informed, and feel more confident in handling situations they face within their formations,” White said.

As the OKNG continues to prioritize wellness and mental health, events like these serve as vital platforms for education, support and empowerment within the community and foster a stronger, more resilient force.
Video by Cpl. Danielle Rayon
Oklahoma National Guard breaks ground on new museum
Oklahoma National Guard
May 16, 2024 | 1:42
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma National Guard broke ground on the new Oklahoma National Guard Museum in Oklahoma City in a ceremony attended by veterans and current National Guard members on May 16.

“Today is a milestone for us as we kick off [construction of the new museum],” said Denise Neil, executive director of the Oklahoma National Guard Museum. “It’s an exciting time, shoveling the dirt forward as a symbolic way to show our kick-off.”

Neil said the new 39,375-square-foot building, located at 3301 NE Grand Blvd in Oklahoma City, will provide the Museum with the space and tools needed to tell the Oklahoma National Guard’s story from its founding through modern times.

CG INFO
00:00:11:01
Denise Neil; Executive Director of the Oklahoma National Guard Museum
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