JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Kidwell, a Behavioral Health Technician “C” school instructor assigned to the Navy Medicine Training Support Center, received the Navy Clinical Psychology Behavioral Health Technician of the Year award in Smith Hall at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston on Dec. 18.
Rear Adm. Walter D. Brafford, commander, Naval Medical Forces Support Command, presented the award recognizing Kidwell for his outstanding performance as a BHT while stationed onboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68).
“Behavioral Health Technician of the Year is a great honor,” Kidwell said. “I have been blessed to work with some of the best Sailors, doctors, and leadership the Navy has to offer. They have mentored me and allowed me to hone my skills as a BHT. Most importantly, they allowed me to help lead and develop Sailors in their everyday lives.”
During his time on Nimitz, Kidwell completed over 2,500 patient encounters from the command. He directly contributed to keeping 97% of patients fit to continue their service during routine operations in preparation for deployment. Additionally, Kidwell also spearheaded efforts to teach resiliency techniques to fellow Sailors to increase behavioral health-related interventions on the peer-to-peer level.
“We are incredibly proud of our Sailor,” said Capt. Paul Allen, commander, NMTSC. “BHTs are being utilized more and more across the fleet and Kidwell is a prime example of how that should be done. We are thrilled to have him here instructing the BHTs of the future."
Currently, Kidwell uses his experience and expertise as a BHT to provide unparalleled instruction to his students. BHTs perform a wide range of tasks that support mental health providers in their treatment of patients with mental illness or developmental disability.
“I love my job,” said Kidwell. “I get to help people become the best versions of themselves. I love to listen to people’s stories and try to be that light in a dark place. My goal was to break the stigma and create a place where Sailors could be open and honest. Mental health is a topic at the forefront of the military right now. I always tell my students, ‘We are in the business of helping people and working on one’s mental well-being is just as important as working on physical wellness.’”
NMTSC is the Navy component command providing administrative and operational control over Navy staff and students assigned to the Medical Education and Training Campus and other medical programs in the San Antonio area.
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