Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: 'Hobbies' (7) Currently Viewing: 1 - 7 of 7

April 6, 2012 at 10:16am

Workshop teaches resiliency through art

Workshop participants Jane Cherney, left, Karen Zeiders, middle, and Georgia Reitmire work on their circus character drawings during a recent Resiliency throught Art seminar on JBLM Lewis Main. (Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian)

On canvas a clown touches a window pane. Visible through it stands the home he can't touch. Painted by a Vietnam veteran, the face paint represents his struggles with post-traumatic stress, the glass symbolizes his alienation, and out of reach beyond it is home, the place he loves the most.

The work communicates a profound reality that the artist found difficult to put into words.

"We can talk around a problem, but art therapy forces you to get to the most primitive areas of your brain where words aren't even connected," Maureen Harvey, an Oklahoma City Veterans Administration Medical Center art therapist, said at Joint Base Lewis-McChord last week.

Harvey was a core trainer for a two-day workshop, called "Resiliency through Art," which made its second stop on its three-installation tour, March 26 to 27. The U.S. Army Installation Management Command program is supported by the Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program and the American Art Therapy Association.

Multiple art projects during the two days encouraged creativity and self reflection, while accompanying information sessions included topics like PTS and traumatic brain injury. Civil servants from across JBLM attended the "train the trainer" event developed by a team of AATA art therapists to support CSF. The team members, all accredited by the Art Therapy Credentials Board, are experts in military health care, art therapy and resilience training.

"The Army is already on board with (art therapy,) I just think the issue is the persistence in sticking with it. Given the opportunity to express themselves, people will stand back and realize ‘I didn't even realize I was feeling that way,'" Harvey said.

She stressed art therapy's benefits to Soldiers and Airmen who have served on multiple deployments during America's longest conflict, enabling them to clarify thoughts and get in touch with complex, sometimes hidden emotions.

"They can reframe a lot of what's been going on with them, then be able to pull back and see what's important to them," she said, "see the family they care about and not only just the pain they're dealing with - see the bigger picture."

Gloria Rodgers, arts and crafts director of the JBLM DFMWR Community Recreation Division, attended the workshop and said she's looking forward to sharing the information she learned.

"We need this," she said. "(Art therapy skeptics) need to sit in on one of these classes; I think it would change their minds completely."

Rodgers, an Army civilian at the former Fort Lewis since 1972, said she has a stress outlet similar to the projects she tackled last week, so she knew of their therapeutic values.

"I crochet one-of-a-kind items and I don't concentrate on anything but that blanket," she said. "This is the same really. These are projects that practice overcoming obstacles."

Other Soldiers and Army civilians from installations as far as Fort Huachuca, Ariz., came to JBLM for the two-day training.

Jean Neal, an employee of IMCOM Community Relations who coordinated the three-installation swing, said its first stop at Fort Hood, Texas was very eventful.

"We had people come over from their (Warrior Training Unit) and the military family life consultants," she said. "We had a Soldier who was assigned to WTU's arts and crafts. He worked there during the day and in the evening he'd go into the wood shop and work on building a guitar. He wasn't too engaged in what was going on (during the day,) but he did follow the activities. On the last day, we made a circle and he spoke about the guitar and how his grandfather, who was a carpenter, taught him how to build one. The social worker and the arts and crafts director there said that was the most they had ever heard him speak or open up."

Neal and the program's core trainers will meet with local trainers and students when they converge on Fort Drum, N.Y., April 23 to 24.

Filed under: Arts, Fort Lewis, Hobbies, Veterans,

April 6, 2012 at 10:11am

Brigade hosts motorcycle safety course

"During the last fiscal year, the Army lost 45 Soldiers to motorcycle accidents," Ed Cartwright, 593rd Sustainment Brigade safety officer, said. "One is too many."

Cartwright, along with Sgt. Maj. Julio Bensimon, 593rd Sust. Bde. support operations sergeant major and brigade motorcycle safety officer, decided to do something about the alarming statistic. They contacted Bruce Thomas, the Washington State Motorcycle Safety Program manager in Olympia, and asked him if he would be willing to conduct an instructor course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"I jumped at the chance to run the course," Thomas, a retired Coast Guard warrant officer, said. "I love working with the military and I love motorcycles. Typically, anybody involved in teaching motorcycle skills has a passion for it because it sure doesn't pay that well."

The course is officially titled the "RiderCoach Preparation Course" and lasts a total of 60 hours, to include classroom training, as well as road training.

"(The students) are becoming instructors to teach a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course and the Experienced Rider Course," Thomas said. "These guys will be able to run this course for folks that have never been on motorcycles before and to take folks that have been on motorcycles and bring them into an experienced class.

"The most dangerous places in our state are in corners, where the majority of fatalities happen, because of a lack of skill. A lot of riders don't have enough skill to swerve the bike or to stop the bike effectively.

"This program incorporates how to corner, how to corner better and it teaches the students to stop better each time," Thomas said. "With these guys, you have Soldiers teaching Soldiers skills that are actually going to save lives."

The class was offered to unit motorcycle mentors so they could pass the skills on to Soldiers in their units.

"When a mentor earns this certification, it gives them added credibility and legitimacy to the unit's motorcycle mentorship program, enabling them to keep their Soldiers safe," Cartwright said.

Soldiers from 1st Special Forces Group; 17th Fires Brigade; 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division; 555th Engineer Brigade and 62nd Medical Brigade sent representatives to take the training.

First Lt. Patrick Lantagne, an intelligence officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, enrolled in the course because he wanted to gain credibility as a motorcycle safety officer for his unit.

"Now I can instruct and mentor bikers who are somewhat new to (riding motorcycles) and just getting out learning the basics of riding," he said. "We are able to instill in them values and skills they might not learn otherwise. We don't want them going out and using driving skills that are unsafe and that might lead to them hurting themselves or hurting others."

Lantagne has been riding motorcycles for 13 years and was still amazed at the amount of knowledge he gained during the course.

"The class has been really eye-opening for me," he said. "No matter how good of a rider you think you are, you can always improve and you can always learn something that you might not have known before.

"You get to operate with other experienced motorcyclists and get insight from them and their style of teaching, riding and how they see, evaluate and execute each task in order to be safe out on the road."

Filed under: Hobbies, Training,

July 28, 2011 at 3:24pm

Eagles Pride Golf Course a work in progress

Tom Higgins putts off the fringe onto the red course’s sixth green at Eagle’s Pride Golf Course July 25. (Photo by Ingrid Barrentine)

A golf course is like a house.

It is built, maintained and welcomes numerous guests. Eagle's Pride Golf Course on Joint-Base Lewis-McChord is Mike McDonald's second home.

"I want (Eagle's Pride) to be like anybody comes to my house and walks in the front door and says, ‘This is comfortable,'" the course manager said.

For that to happen McDonald and his staff made some recent changes in his three seasons as manager.

"The course was OK when I came here," McDonald said. "It was probably not a lot of golfers' first choice."

The improvements began with the front door - the parking lot entrance. The old lot with railroad ties and no lighting gave way to a smooth, sleek parking surface with an attractive entrance sign. Beyond the entrance golfers are welcomed with a well-maintained 27-hole course open daily to the public.

Nine holes were given new tee boxes last year. Over time the boxes become uneven, but a professional company came out to laser level the surface.

A golf course architect study revealed some of the fairways in the 6,440-yard long course were too long. Forward tees were added to accommodate all levels of golfers.

"As the baby boomers, as we get older we feel like we're 30 but we can't hit that far," McDonald said. "So we've added other tees to try to attract more people. We make it a user-friendly golf course."

New irrigation drains were added to help eliminate wet spots on the greens, and a forestry department was involved to thin and remove trees that were depriving the greens of sunlight. All the work was done without taking away from the ambiance of the course.

All the physical improvements have given new life to the 73-year-old course.

Eagle's Pride opened in 1938 as an 18-hole course. Nine more holes were added in 1979 and in the mid-1990's the military course opened to the public. The driving range features natural grass hitting areas, as well as covered areas with heat and light.

McDonald did more than just a physical remodel at Eagle's Pride to attract more golfers to practice and play the course. Administrative changes made those golfers want to return.

"If you look at courses in the area like the Home Course and Chambers Bay, the competition has been elevated around us," Eagle's Pride PGA Pro Eric Bowen said. "With public access they have many choices and we want them to choose this one."

One of the first changes McDonald made as manager in 2008 was implementing an annual special. This season's special is valid Monday through Thursday and includes the greens fee, golf cart and an $8 food voucher for $35. A civilian would normally pay $47. Tee times can be reserved up to seven days in advance.

Friday through Sunday the course is normally busy with tournaments, but the extra nine holes allow golfers to still play during weekends. McDonald and Bowen have plans for other improvements to the course, including upgrading the other 18 tee boxes.

"We still have a long way to go," McDonald said. "Our goal is to eventually make this the best golf course in the Pacific Northwest where people will want to come and play."

Filed under: Fort Lewis, Hobbies, Lakewood, Sports,

July 21, 2011 at 9:55am

JBLM Army spouse elite distance runner

Sabine Pullins hopes to work at a gym on post where she can share her expertise in training and nutrition with Soldiers and spouses.

Sabine Pullins quietly entered the marathon scene four years ago.

But it took just one race for the 38-year-old Army spouse to become an elite distance running competitor.

Since her first race in June 2007 in her native country of Germany, Pullins competed in 13 other marathons - qualifying for the Boston Marathon all 14 times.

Just this year Pullins ran a 10K race, a half-marathon in San Francisco and three marathons.

"May 1 was my first marathon this year in Eugene, Ore.," Pullins said. "I ran my second-fastest time there but I didn't feel like I was quite giving it my all. I wasn't very depleted or exhausted afterward."

Pullins turned around two weeks later and won the Capital City Marathon in Olympia. But she didn't give her full effort because she had the Rainier to Ruston Ultra Marathon three weeks later.

Three marathons in a span of five weeks had little effect on Pullins, as she was the first female finisher - second overall - in the Ultra Marathon.

Pullins' accomplishments are known beyond the local running community, as she is sponsored by Quantum Scalar, a manufacturer of performance gear.

"Being sponsored means you're on par with the pro level," said Claire Heid, 66th Military Police Company, 504th Military Police Battalion. "In the running world, a good mark of a professional runner is when they start getting sponsorship."

Heid met Pullins at the start line of the Capital City Marathon in May. Pullins quickly befriended the ultra marathon runner as she prepared for the Rainier to Ruston - Pullins' first ultra marathon - in June.

It didn't take long for Pullins' running career to flourish. But the mother of two doesn't accumulate her winnings to show them off. Rather, Pullins wants to use her success to help others. Even with a full racing schedule Pullins completed schooling at the National Federation of Professional Trainers to become a Certified Personal Trainer, specialized in endurance training.

"My next endeavor is to pay this forward to the community," Pullins said. "I would really like to see if I can work through (Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of) Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and let this bleed into helping the Soldiers perform at a better, higher level."

Pullins hopes to work at a gym on post where she can share her expertise in training and nutrition with Soldiers and spouses.

Of the 14 marathons Pullins raced in, she made it to the award podium 12 times, with seven first-place finishes. She hopes her numbers will aid in building up clientele as a personal trainer.

"I look at (what I've done) as successes that I can get people interested in me," Pullins said. "So people will think, ‘She really knows what she's doing. She knows what this is about.' If you trust me I can definitely get you to where you would like to see yourself or very close to it."

In the meantime Pullins is taking it easy. Of course she still logs 60 miles a week during her runs, but without the race mentality. She doesn't know when her next marathon will be.

"It's been busy and I want to refill my battery a little bit," Pullins said.

And with her husband, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Scott W. Pullins, 1st Battalion, 303rd Armor Regiment, being deployed next year, Sabine Pullins' competitive running will slow down to spend more time with her Family.

But she admits it would be nice to maybe some day run the Boston Marathon. Or better yet, just round up her 14 marathons.

"I know I would love to do 15. I'm just letting things come toward me."

Filed under: Hobbies, Sports,

July 18, 2011 at 2:48pm hosts 2011 Military Challenge contest has officially kicked off the second annual 2011 Military Challenge. The competition is open for entries to all active and reserve United States military members and their spouses from July 15 to Aug. 15. and MusclePharm are looking for the best of the best in the U.S. Military. Whether someone is already in great physical shape or wants to utilize this 12 week challenge to transform their body, the most important factor is showing that an individual physical fitness goal can be met while being a top motivator for others. Winners will be chosen by an internal judging panel that will look at the contestants' ability to reach their Military Challenge goals and their ability to inspire others in the military with the aid of the world's largest online social fitness community, BodySpace.

The grand prize male and female winners will receive the title of " Military Spokesperson of the Year" and become a sponsored athlete of TEAM They will also receive $1,800 worth of supplements, a professional photo shoot, a Stayfit Package (including a MusclePharm Stack, gym gift bag, fat caliper, fat loss monitor with scale, shaker and gym towel), and be featured on The grand prize winners will be chosen from the first place male and female winners of each military branch (Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard). Individual first place branch winners will receive $350 worth of supplements and a gift bag (approximate value of $100). 

2010 Military Spokesmodels Soldier Sean Hardge and Airman Pamela Wilson not only graced multiple pages on and made appearances at company events throughout the year, but they also received exposure in top industry magazines such as Muscle Mag, Iron Man, Muscular Development and Fitness X. Most importantly, they inspired thousands as the official representatives for the strongest force in the world - the United States Military.  

"At, we believe exercise, nutrition, and supplements are critical weapons in the fight for a healthy body. We also believe a battle-ready dose of motivation is essential to achieving the best physique possible. As a result, we proudly support and salute our soldiers with the 2011 Military Challenge," CEO Ryan DeLuca said in a release.

For more on the 2011 Military Spokesmodel Competition powered by MusclePharm, visit

Filed under: Health, Hobbies, Sports,

October 1, 2010 at 2:17pm

'Taliban' shooter feature pulled from video game

This from Military Times: Video gamers no longer will be able to fight and kill American troops as members of the “Taliban” in the upcoming first-person shooter “Medal of Honor,” Military Times has learned. Instead, they’ll fight and kill American troops as “the opposing force,” a response to criticism from service members’ families and others.

For more on the story, click here.

Filed under: Hobbies, News To Us,

August 27, 2010 at 3:41pm

Users can play Taliban, kill U.S. troops in new video game

A new first-person shooter video game has some up in arms about some of the game's features.

By allowing players to assume the role of Taliban fighters killing U.S. troops, Redwood City-based (Calif.) Electronic Arts may have crossed the line with its latest first-person shooter game, a line that Mountain View resident Karen Meredith says was drawn with the blood of soldiers like her only son, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

For more on the story, click here.

Recent Comments

chrismarklee said:

The Vietnam Memorial is a great honor to those who served in the war. Chris Owner CEL...

about DuPont to host traveling Vietnam memorial

Generali Travel said:

Great tips! More info on WHEN to buy: ...

about Common Travel Problems and How to Deal with Them

cxciiipeezo said:

Remember - go out east gate, take a right, then right, then left and follow the road wayyyy out...

about Free salmon at JBLM hatchery

Daniel Henny said:

Thus really amazing headphones to use and durable too .Get to know more reviews about headphones...

about Okay to wear headphones

Angelic said:

How do we sign up???