JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Sgt. 1st Class Maité Bengoa, the enlisted advisor to the deputy commander of health readiness at Brooke Army Medical Center, is prepared to run for a good cause.
The Boise, Idaho native is set for the upcoming Texas Independence Relay run. Since Texas Independence Day is March 2, the run was originally scheduled for earlier in the year. But, due to COVID-19 concerns, the race was postponed to May 23 and 24.
Bengoa is the captain of her team, which they named “Don’t Get in a Van with Strangers.” The team is running to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
“Sometimes people have a hard time adjusting to life outside the military, or they have PTSD or some other issues,” Bengoa said. “A lot of us have had thoughts of suicide or have had friends or one of our Soldiers who either tried or talked to us about it. We want people to know we hear them and that there are resources available for them.”
She said she wants her Soldiers, her family and friends to know she is available as a resource if anyone has any thoughts of self-harm, of if they know of anyone who does. Bengoa can help direct them to help that can be provided to others in their circle of friends and acquaintances. Running the relay is their way of raising awareness for people who might otherwise feel they have no one who will stand up for them.
The 24-hour relay run was originally scheduled to start in Gonzales, Texas, and finish in Houston, with up to 12 team members completing about 200 miles. Now the race will start in Pipe Creek, Texas, instead of the originally scheduled route.
Bengoa will be running in the number six spot on her team and each member will run three different legs of approximately five miles per leg. Members of the public are invited to attend and watch the run with appropriate social distancing.
For anyone who would like to attend and cheer on Bengoa’s team, the relay will begin at 6 a.m. May 23 at 2059 Rio Ranchero in Pipe Creek. The race will start with all teams carrying an American flag. Once the Camaraderie Run portion is complete, the runners will begin their individual legs and the run is scheduled to last through 6 a.m. the following morning.
Anyone who needs support or resources for a loved one can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.