Ft Carson ASPP, (Army Suicide Prevention Program, SP2)

Start Date: 2022-01-31

Description: HOPE received an invitation by the ASPP (SP2) program at Ft Carson, Colorado, to visit with active duty troops at several Battalions in their duty work locations. These troops have had a difficult December and January and now with the readying for deployment at a moments notice, has put a lot of stress on these soldiers. The Army Suicide Prevention Program (SP2) is an integral component of the Army's Ready and Resilient Campaign, which provides resources for suicide prevention, intervention skills, and provides support for those impacted by the loss of a loved one to suicide to develop healthy and resilient soldiers, reduce stigma, and build awareness of suicide and related behaviors. HOPE was very honored to provide the comfort and encouragement and provide a great "paws" in their duty day to help relieve some stress and provide a relaxation period in their duty location. After receiving the proper post passes we were escorted over to a large motor pool area where we attended a large formation of over 200 troops each in their own flight sections. We were introduced to the troops by the Battalion NCOIC and troops were dismissed to visit with the HOPE teams. The three teams split up around the compound and the soldiers gathered to meet each HOPE Team. Another ASPP leader had a request to meet a group of soldiers at another motor pool. Two teams stayed at this Battalion and Willow and I were escorted to the other side of the installation to another motor pool where all the cooks and support personnel were reading their tactical vehicles for the impending deployment. We were escorted around the exterior motor pool by one sergeant to different areas where groups of soldiers were working on vehicles, loading shipping containers, repairing equipment. We greeted each group allowing them to interact and meet the team. Each soldier was also presented a small bag of chocolate with a special message inside from the ASPP office personnel as well as pets and hugs and trading cards from the dog teams. After about an hour the three teams gathered back at a Military Police compound area to meet this group of soldiers also preparing their storage units and vehicles for the duties that lay ahead. They were ecstatic to receive visits in their work place, which were outdoors by their military vehicles and some working on their equipment. We were also on the compound when a fire department and police response came by so added some good sensory training for sirens and horns for the pups. The entire morning was a total success, we visited with more than 500 troops in four different locations and at least 6 Battalions! Even long after the bags of chocolates were gone, and all of us were depleted of every single trading card, we continued to have troops wanting to get this little break in their duty day and visit with our special pups. HOPE was instrumental in helping the ASPP (SP2) program meet their goal today, and providing comfort and encouragement by demonstrating and empowering these troops to understand that "success or failure is not final, it is the courage to keep going that counts!

Agency: Army Suicide Prevention Program (SP2)
Teams: Lee Fernholtz and Grace; Janice Mann and Lucas