KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
The 173rd Fighter Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team hosted the first, annual “Race to Zero” 5K Run/Walk April 8, 2018 at the Klamath Falls airport. There were 71 participants who joined in on the event, despite the chilly, windy weather.
This event was held to observe April as Sexual Assault Prevention month
“We wanted to put on an event that would provide awareness beyond a basic presentation or another training,” said Amber Spotten, the 173rd FW Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “I thought this would be good a way that we could come out and show a unified vision of support in our community and show support to survivors.”
Displayed at the start/finish line were booths featuring different community support resources that are available locally. Tech. Sgt. Jared Boyer, 173rd FW Victim’s Advocate and the main coordinator of the event, said this was an important aspect of the event.
“Getting to know my community services, its people--plus supporting their causes gets me informed, prepared, and strengthens our rapport with our community,” said Boyer. “It was an honor to have Kingsley Field break ground on an event that pulls those services together in a display of strength.”
There were a variety of participants in the event—Airmen from Kingsley Field, family members, as well as people from the community. The first runner to cross the line was Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Biesnecker, with a time of 20:35.
“It went absolutely well, and I was amazed at the generosity of this wing, the community and its support organizations,” said Boyer. “I am guessing I asked 40-50 people to help in different ways, and in the end did not receive a single ‘no’ the whole time.”
Spotten says that events such as these are important to encourage people to have conversations about sexual assault and the resources available. “It can be hard to talk about, but we have to do it,” she added.
In addition to the 5K, the SAPR team had other tools to commemorate April as Sexual Assault Prevention month. On Saturday, April 7th they hosted Dr. Anna McKay from Klamath Basin Behavioral Health who discussed trauma and recovery.
Additionally, the SAPR created a visual display of pinwheels that sat at the front entrance of the base that represented the responses to an anonymous survey they made available to the wing. Each pinwheel color represented a response to the survey.
“This display reminds us that there are many people around us who are impacted by sexual assault; but, also, there are many of us all around that are willing to help,” said Spotten.