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Fort Leonard Wood Fair Helps Community Members

By Luke Waack

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo., June 1, 2009 - The Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood held their Safety and Health Fair - as part of Summer Safety Days - at Nutter Field House, to warn the public about potential hazards and educate them in regard to health concerns.

The fair featured educational booths on many safety subjects including vehicle, water, wildlife and weather.

The main event was a Driving Under the Influence Accident Re-enactment, in which, Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department used the "Jaws-of-Life" to extract personnel from two wrecked vehicles. One role player was thrown from the vehicle because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt.

This type of accident is all too common, said Maj. Gen. Gregg Martin, MANSCEN and
Fort Leonard Wood commanding general.

"Our most precious assets are people," Martin said.

Martin wants leaders to put information gathered at the safety fair into practice.

"We're pumped up about building strong warriors, family members, leaders of character, who go out and do the right thing to make a difference. Take the lessons and apply them; look people in the eye and say, 'hey, put your seatbelt on; what's the plan if you go out drinking and driving?' - we need an ironclad way to be safe," Martin said.

"In this community, each and every one of us is blessed to get to wake up every day and make a
difference in the lives of these great people doing something truly important for our country and the world," Martin said.

Soldiers and civilians watched the re-enactment.

"I think it was a good demonstration. This hopefully will stop somebody from drinking and driving this weekend," said Sgt. Anthony Wiley, 252nd Military Police Detachment, Directorate of Emergency Services.

Col. Thomas Kula, MANSCEN and Fort Leonard Wood chief of staff, shared personal testimony with the crowd about the effectiveness of seatbelts, after the extraction demonstration. Kula survived two serious automobile accidents, thanks to proper safety practices.

"On the Florida turnpike, coming up to a tollbooth where traffic was backed up, I had to stop very quickly. I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a white car behind me going very fast. I turned and said to my friend next to me, 'that car is not stopping.' She hit us going 70 miles-per-hour. My friend and I walked away from that, because we were wearing seatbelts," Kula said.
"Seatbelts work - use them," Kula said.