ViPER Team ensures readiness among LRAFB Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Maria Umanzor Guzman
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Everyone, including Airmen, endure life challenges that can be overcome with the help of proper and professional support.

The Violence Prevention Execution and Resiliency Team focuses on identifying, implementing, and assessing different forms of interpersonal and self-directed violence throughout the base to provide that connection and demonstrate peer support to service members and other base personnel.

“Our goal as the ViPER Team is to develop social norms with events and activities while also coordinating and collaborating with other agencies to increase awareness of interpersonal violence and self-directed harm,” said Damaris Sullivan-Powe, 19th Airlift Wing violence prevention integrator. “We want to ensure unit readiness by making sure Airmen are able to perform their job and accomplish the mission.”

The ViPER team is involved in a collaborative approach with the Suicide Prevention Program, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, Family Advocacy, Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion, and other programs on prevention efforts.

“We want to identify the common trends that are happening here so that we can prioritize providing a primary prevention and recommend prevention strategies to address the high-risk behaviors within the units,” Sullivan-Powe said.

Different forms of interpersonal and self-directed violence include sexual assault, dating violence, family violence, workplace violence, and suicide.

At the end of the day, the main focus of the ViPER Team is to form one thing: Connectedness.

“Connectedness is a sense of belonging, it doesn’t matter where everyone’s at in their life,” said Sullivan-Powe. “Creating and having that safe place where you can have a conversation and share your thoughts and beliefs with no judgment is perhaps our main purpose with this program.”

Even though one of the goals of the program is to foster connectedness throughout the entire base populace, it also does so among the members of the ViPER team.

“Being a member of the ViPER Team helped me connect with people from different career fields and grow as a leader,” said Airman 1st Class Jessica Holland, 19th Operational Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman. “It gave me a different perspective on my childhood and some of the things I went through when I was younger. It has helped me open up and talk to people, allowing me to be vulnerable because maybe they understand as well or have had similar experiences.”

The ViPER team has future plans to expand and grow the program.

“I would love to eventually be able to connect with schools in the local area and potentially form a junior ViPER team,” said Sullivan-Powe. “I just feel grateful to be in a position to make a change and have an awesome team with me. It doesn’t happen in one day, but there’s always an opportunity to connect with others and make a change.”