By Douglas H Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs
BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Bremerton's wrapped up a weeklong Right Spirit Campaign with the interactive "That Guy" presentation on June 24.
The annual event is part of the Navy's Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Deglamorization Campaign that emphasizes personal, shipmate, leadership and command responsibility while promoting healthy lifestyles for all Navy members.
"With five days of events, our goals were to increase awareness on the many dangers of alcohol and to reinforce our main message of having those who do drink, to do so responsibly," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Rodel Carlos, NHB Command DAPA and event organizer. "NHB's ultimate goal is to have no alcohol related incidents of any kind. By providing information and awareness, and also focusing on what other activities and resources are available, we hope that our staff will make the right choices."
Carlos said the "That Guy" presentation was specifically chosen as a fitting end of the Right Spirit Campaign.
"The presentation wasn't just a reminder," he said. That Guy really is a great way to show that if anyone drinks too much and gets out of control, people won't be laughing with them, they will be laughing at them."
The week-long event also featured guest speakers, Safe Ride Taxi presentations, and a "Mocktail" Cabana that showcased non-alcoholic 'adult' beverages such as sparkling apple-peach sunrise and lemon-strawberry punch.
"Business was so good at our cabana that we ran out of mocktail glasses and had to start using plastic cups," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sammie Boroski. "This is a great way to show everyone that there are alternatives available and that people don't have to drink alcohol to have fun and look cool."
NHB's Safe Ride taxi program advocates 'No Questions and No Charge' for those who call for a ride home.
"We're trying to make it as easy as possible for everyone," said Navy Counselor 1st Class Sara Dozier. "Drinking and driving are obviously not an option in our Navy today. Using Safe Ride is the right and smart choice for anyone who has been drinking. We got our command duty officer, officer of the deck, quarterdeck and Safe Ride taxi-cab phone numbers on the business cards. If anyone needs a ride, they just need to call one of them to get home safely."
Thomas Gauthier was one of the guest speaker and delivered a presentation required for all staff members, E6 and below, to attend. "Our commanding officer is very passionate about getting the word out about drinking and driving," said Lt j.g. Jeremy Howell, Human Resources department head. "We needed a way to really get the word out about the dangers of alcohol and DUIs. I mentioned that I had a friend who made the ultimate bad decision and might be able to talk about it. The Skipper immediately said to see if he was available to come up to speak."
Gautheir's story was different from those shared in past Right Spirit Campaigns. Gautheir, a former Navy hospital corpsman, was not the victim in a drinking and driving scenario. He was the offender.
"He was a rising star, a young corpsman going places," said Howell, who went through Hospital Corps school and Field Medicine training with him. "Just a couple drinks changed his life," Howell said.
Gautheir related that he made just one bad decision. That one bad decision completely altered his life and cost the life of another. He got behind the wheel of his car in San Diego after drinking Aug. 31, 2002, and ended up killing a three-year old. He served five years for vehicular manslaughter.
According to Howell, what really made the guest speaker presentation so effective was that many of the enlisted personnel could immediately relate because it was coming from one of their 'own.' Afterward, staff members commented to Gautheir and shared with Howell, how impactful the presentation was to them.
"An HM2 e-mailed me and said that he should talk to every command," said Howell. "One young corpsman mentioned that the presentation was very powerful. Another one said she couldn't stop crying.
"Was our week-long effort successful?" asked Carlos. "We think so. We had victims, and we had offenders. We got to see the impact of what alcohol can do from both sides. We hope everyone got the message and remembers to be responsible if they drink alcohol."