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Training and Education Command

United States Marine Corps
Save a Life Tour improves health

By Lance Cpl. Justin J. Shemanski | | April 30, 2004

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- In an effort to make a healthier, safer Parris Island, the Save A Life Tour, in conjunction with Semper Fit Health Promotions, teamed up with Marine Corps Community Services - South Carolina, Single Marine Program, and Beaufort Memorial Hospital to hold the Save A Life Tour and Health Fair at the Depot Lyceum Tuesday.

The event, which was open to all Depot personnel, focused on National Alcohol Awareness Month.

"The Save A Life Tour was an event that allowed an individual to experience first hand the devastating effects of driving under the influence of alcohol," said Crystal Dillard, registered nurse and Semper Fit health promotions director. "The Save A Life Tour is an event coordinated through Gayle Wierzbicki. She invited Semper Fit to assist with the event and we decided to offer a health fair as well."

Wierzbicki, the drug demand reduction coordinator for the Tri-Command area, was asked to help set up the event.

"This is the first time the Save A Life Tour has come to a military base," said Wierzbicki. "They primarily tour college campuses and high schools, so we thought this would be very worthwhile opportunity for them to come out to Parris Island and MCAS to educate the military."

The Save A Life Tour was here for a two-day tour at Parris Island and MCAS Beaufort to educate the military on the hazards of mixing alcohol and driving. To let patrons experience the effects first hand, a simulator was set up to show them the difficulties of driving while intoxicated.

"Our main goal here is to increase the awareness of driving after consuming alcohol," said Wierzbicki. "We want to let people know that even after just one drink, it's still not wise to get behind the wheel. One drink is enough to hinder your ability to be a safe driver and the decision to drive could cost someone their life. Our message is if you choose to drink - drink responsibly."

Although Wierzbicki's main focus is drug prevention, she feels that alcohol awareness is just as important.

"As the DDRC, drugs are, of course, my main focus, but alcohol is considered a drug, even though it's legal," said Wierzbicki. "We consider it a gateway drug. People who are abusers are more prone to get into heavier drugs when under the influence of alcohol."

Several health professionals were on hand to offer free information on stress management, STD/HIV education, personal nutrition and many  other facts one could use to lead a healthier life. Physical fitness was also an issue during the event.

"We had approximately 20 health experts come in from Naval Hospital Beaufort and BMH's Mobile Wellness Unit to provide health screenings and to address about ten health related topics," said Dillard.

Both military and civilians took full advantage of the event, browsing through each display, picking up bits and pieces of information to educate them on ways to better their health. The volunteers at each table readily answered any questions they had.

"Everybody needs information," said Lance Cpl. Kenny West, warehouseman at Bucket Issue. "There's really no better way to get it out there than by how they're doing it now. I've found out a lot of new things that I can pass on to my family to make them safer."

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