TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, California – Military life can be stressful and in some cases that stress can be overwhelming.
Few understand this better than Staff Sgt. Timothy Gould, 60th Maintenance Squadron precision measurement equipment laboratory technician from Buffalo, New York.
Gould has experienced a high level of stress over the course of his 13-year career. At work, he helps manage a team of 13 Airmen responsible for more than $5 million in government equipment.
He’s a husband, a father and a noncommissioned officer. During his last deployment, he witnessed the birth of his third child from 8,000 miles away and later learned his wife nearly died during the delivery.
He’s now the father of four children from two different marriages and has been in a custody battle with his first wife for nearly a decade.
“After I returned from my deployment in early 2012, my ex-wife had two of my children in a bad situation and she refused to allow me to contact them,” Gould said. “I tried to get custody of them and have been doing so for about eight years. I have temporary custody now. Not knowing what was going on with my children was pretty stressful.”
At the time, Gould was assigned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. He was approached by one of his flight chiefs who recommended he attend a resiliency training course.
Gould followed the flight chief’s advice.
“I was going through a lot of personal issues,” Gould said. “I was good at dealing with stress for the most part, but having that much stress all at the same time, I didn’t have the resources or the ability to get through it. That’s where the resilience course came in. It helped me prioritize what I was going through and figure things out.”
Resiliency training classes focus on providing Airmen with tools needed to bounce back from bad situations and emphasizes the four domains of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness: physical, spiritual, mental and social.
“It’s critical our Airmen complete resiliency training because we have so many Airmen suffering with post-traumatic stress, issues at work, relationship problems; it’s important our Airmen have the tools and skills necessary to get through those difficult times,” said Emily Haley, 60th Air Mobility Wing community support coordinator.
Haley manages the resiliency training program at Travis Air Force Base, California, which features 21 instructors. Gould is one of them after completing the Master Resiliency Training Instructor Course in May.
He has helped provide resiliency training to 810 Airmen this year.
“Its important Airmen are resilient because the military lifestyle is a stressful one, which is a large reason why divorce and suicide rates are so high,” Gould said. “We deal with a lot and that can place an incredible burden on our families, especially with communication. So many people don’t know how to talk through issues and resiliency training teaches people how to see things from another person’s perspective. To put yourself in that person’s shoes.”
One aspect of the training Gould said he likes is the portion on counting blessings.
“The counting blessings portion really resonates with me,” Gould said. “Every day I think about something good rather than focusing on the negatives. Many people think of blessings as a religious thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Blessings can simply be good things in our lives.”
“My wife and I count our blessings every day,” Gould said. “We talk about all the good things that have happened in our lives and that helps us get through each day and was really helpful in 2012 when things were pretty bad.”
Prior to becoming an MRT instructor, Gould served as a resiliency training assistant and has helped teach 140 Airmen resiliency skills. He arrived at Travis in July 2015 and Haley said she’s thrilled to have him on the Travis team.
“Gould is an amazing person,” she said. “Whenever I need a volunteer for something, he’s always the first to step up. He’s revamped our Leadership Pathways SharePoint page. He’s one of three lead MRTs at Travis and he’s a great instructor.”
Lt. Col. Claudio Covacci, 60th Maintenance Squadron commander, shares Haley’s sentiments.
“Our unit is proud to have Sergeant Gould on our team,” he said. “As a wingman, he focuses on helping our Airmen build their core strengths of physical fitness, emotional awareness, social communication, family values and spiritual beliefs. He assists in the development of an Air Force full of bright people, who are resilient enough to make sound decisions in the most stressful of situations.”
Everyone is dealing with something, Gould said.
“I hope I can help every Airman in some way make their lives a little easier or help them have a better day; that makes my efforts worthwhile,” he added.
For more information or to sign up for resiliency courses at Travis, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 707-424-2486 or click here. For more information about Comprehensive Airman Fitness, visit the Air Force Portal and click on the CAF icon tab on the main page.