JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
The 37th Training Wing hosted a 24-hour walk in honor of fallen U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland July 25-26. The event was used as an opportunity to promote dialogue and unity while reiterating the Air Force’s zero tolerance towards sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence.
“It’s always powerful to see our people come together and rally around a cause,” said Chief Master Sgt. Stefan Blazier, 37th TRW command chief. “It is needed now as much as ever, because it’s the only way that pain can become purpose.”
The effort was led by four women, two members of the Inter American Air Force’s Academy team, Tech. Sgt. Alejandra Avila and Staff Sgt. Soleine Izquierdo, a Military Working Dog handler, Staff Sgt. Melissa Garcia and a member from Security Hill, Staff Sgt. Monique McDonald. The four IAAFA teammates, along with 24 other volunteers, organized the event which was open to all Department of Defense ID cardholders.
“I’m extremely proud of the four ladies who made this event possible,” Blazier said. “This team knew many needed something...something which showed what we stood for and to demonstrate how many want to be part of the solution. They are what leadership looks like.”
More than 240 participates took walking shifts over the 24-hour period to honor Guillen, while adhering to social distancing and CDC guidelines. Members used this time to reflect on injustice, talk to their teammates about its impact, and discussed ways to move forward in a healthy way that prevents reoccurring.
Opening and closing remarks were made by members of the 37th TRW leadership team, who encouraged open communication on topics like sexual assault and other issues that impact Airmen and humanity.
A Sexual Assault Prevention and Response representative was present and available for participants to talk with and ask questions to throughout the event. This event was an opportunity for the 37th TRW Warhawk Family and JBSA Community to join as one voice against injustice.
To learn more about SAPR resources, visit https://www.afmc.af.mil/About-Us/Featured-Topics/SAPR/.