The Sun News

Q&A with Stuart Bapties

Stuart Bapties
Stuart Bapties

Residence: Bonarie

Occupation: Health promotions manager, Robins Air Force Base

Q: How did the idea to make October Triple Ribbon Awareness Month come about?

A: Back in 2009 we found we had three major awareness events going on and we noticed they were competing with each other for the same crowd at similar events. We thought it would be a good idea to have all three together, pool resources and work out a better plan by coordinating activities and getting information out.

Q: What awareness ribbons are part of the month?

A: The pink awareness ribbon is for breast cancer awareness, red is for drug abuse and purple is domestic violence awareness.

Q: Is combining the awareness effort for each unique to Middle Georgia or does it happen all over?

A: It’s very unique here. As people have been at Robins Air Force Base and transferred, they’ve taken the idea with them, and other bases have adopted it and contacted us about how to do it. But as far as having the relationship and combining it the way we do between the base and the community — Houston County and the three communities around us — that’s the piece that is totally unique. We have such a great community partnership here.

Q: Who spearheads it? Who had the original idea?

A: We spearhead it here from health promotions and integrated delivery system at the base. Myself and Roslyne Battle, who used to be here at the base, came up with the idea. At first we did a little proclamation ceremony in Warner Robins at City Hall, but then the mayor took a proclamation board we had made around with him to different meetings and events. Other mayors and county officials wanted to come on board, too, so now it’s everybody: Houston County, Warner Robins, Perry, Centerville.

Q: It’s very cooperative and all to the end of raising awareness for worthy causes.

A: It is. It lets agencies like the base’s family advocacy program, drug demand reduction program, women’s health department, our health promotions flight and parallel community agencies do a better job of getting the message out. In Houston County some of the people involved are Houston Healthcare, HODAC, the Phoenix Center, Rainbow House, the Salvation Army and Houston County Family Connections.

Q: There are lots of events and opportunism to learn and get help throughout October. Can you highlight a few?

A: In late September there’s a combined proclamation event that has information booths and tables as well. Then on into October, some of the major events include Houston Healthcare doing the Pink Picnic for breast cancer at the Museum of Aviation Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. HODAC is having an open house related to drug awareness Oct. 20 starting at 6:30 p.m. at their facility at 2762 Watson Blvd. and the Salvation Army is having a domestic abuse candlelight vigil on the 20th also. At the base we’re having all kinds of related events for military and civilian personnel who have base access. These are pretty well publicized and include a big 5K Color Run Oct. 21 at the base Health and Wellness Center. It features the colors of the ribbons. Following that on the 21st also is what we call our Resilience Fair at the base gym. We have health screenings and information from healthcare providers, area agencies and many, many others. It’s a really large event.

Q: There are definitely loads of events — how can people get particulars?

A: We have fliers and information out there and they can contact agencies or get in touch with our office at 478-327-8480.

Q: Is it working? Is everyone seeing more tangible results from working together?

A: I know that the 5k and Resilience Fair has become premier awareness events of the year. We have 1,000 people at the 5K and thousands go through the fair. We don’t have metrics that can tell if our efforts have reduced drug abuse or domestic violence or cases of breast cancer, but we know it’s a good outreach that people look forward to and take advantage of. That has to help. I’ve seen figures that say the number of people dying from breast cancer is being reduced and a large part of that is education and awareness and people discovering it sooner and being treated, so I believe the Triple Ribbon Month plays a part in all of that.

Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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