TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The 60th Civil Engineer Squadron started wearing a “No One Fights Alone” morale patch Sept. 9, 2022, and every Friday during the month of September to spread awareness for Suicide Prevention Month.
Travis AFB’s firehouse has 18 new Airmen, according to U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Vega, 60th CES deputy fire chief and first to bring the patch to the squadron. Vega believes it is important to start building connections with them right away.
“Many of our new Airmen come from different walks of life, some better than others,” said Vega. “It is pivotal that we show we are more than just an organization or job.”
According to Vega, most of his military and civilian firefighters will spend more than half of their careers with those at work due to the 24 to 48-hour shift schedules.
“It is crucial that we show our newest Airmen, some of them away from home for the first time in their lives trying to carve their own paths, that they have a new home and family that they can depend on during the good times and the bad,” said Vega.
He amplified the importance of the morale patch, making sure that his team was able to wear it throughout the month.
The patch originated at the Department of Defense Fire Academy, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas.
Designed as a Maltese Cross, a first responder symbol, the patch reads “Suicide Awareness,” “Stand for a Cause,” and “No One Fights Alone.” Also on the patch is an electrocardiogram representing a heartbeat and a semicolon that signifies the continuation of a sentence.
“The patch is an identifier for each person who sees it, that the individual wearing it is a willing participant to listen, be approachable and lend a hand if someone ever needed to talk,” said Vega.
Airman Riley Holland, one of the newest fire protection specialists at the 60th CES, has only been with Team Travis for two weeks. According to the Washington native, the transition from civilian to military life can be difficult for any Airman.
“Being away from home has been hard, but I have felt welcomed at the firehouse and the comradery here has made it feel more like a home away from home,” said Holland.
Bringing awareness to the cause for this month is important, but it is also a reminder to check in on one another, according to Holland.
“When seeing the patch, it is a reminder that we have people here to talk to if we ever need it,” said Holland.
To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call or text 9-8-8, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.