SAN DIEGO – The crew of USS Benfold (DDG 65) took part in a health fair to promote healthy lifestyles among the crew while the ship was in its homeport of San Diego, Nov. 19.
Representatives from the local USO office, the Fleet and Family Support Center in San Diego, local chaplain’s office and Navy preventive medicine took part in the event designed to help educate Benfold Sailors about hazards commonly found in and around the fleet.
“Our aim is to keep our crew fully informed of the stressors and risky scenarios that face Sailors, whether it is work related or not,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW) Manuel Contreras, Benfold’s independent duty corpsman. “If we can teach Sailors how to detect symptoms of illness or avoid risky behavior altogether, then we empower them to be more proactive in living a healthy life.”
Contreras said that in addition to life choices made outside of work, the health fair also addressed hypertension and work-related stress.
“By teaching the crew how to recognize a negatively impacting event or emotion, he or she can treat it appropriately or seek help accordingly, and not let it spill into other facets of life with negative effects,” said Contreras.
During the health fair, Benfold’s Lt. Rich Skinnell attempted to put the perils of texting while driving into perspective.
“The leading cause of automobile related death in young adults is texting and driving,” Skinnell told the group of Sailors.
By using simple arithmetic, Skinnell demonstrated how a driver can easily travel 100 feet per second while their eyes are locked onto a cellular phone screen.
Sailors said they definitely learned something during the health fair.
“You don’t normally think of the consequences on that level of granularity,” said Operations Specialist Seaman (SW) Patrick McIntyre. “It’s scary to think how far you can travel without watching the road; it really changes your outlook.”
Benfold leadership said the health fair was an important opportunity to address hazards encountered during off-duty hours.
“There are good measures in place to protect Sailors while inside the lifelines,” said Cmdr. Rich LeBron, Benfold’s commanding officer. “Where we can improve upon the most is mitigating the dangers and hazards that lie outside the lifelines.”
LeBron said that while behavior like texting and driving, poor dieting and unprotected sex can take place outside the command, they still have far-reaching effects inside the Benfold family.
Benfold is currently undergoing a scheduled maintenance availability in its homeport of San Diego.