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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Honing healthy habits helps heroes

By Cpl. Christopher Duncan | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | November 02, 2012

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Marines lined up to hug Mrs. Carol Graham who lost both of her sons, one to combat and the other to suicide, during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center here Oct. 25.

Marines lined up to hug Mrs. Carol Graham who lost both of her sons, one to combat and the other to suicide, during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center here Oct. 25. (Photo by Cpl. Christopher Duncan)


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Retired Lt. Col. Jack Matthews shares his experience with alcoholism and the dangers it presents to the lives and careers of Marines, to more than 1,000 Marines in attendance at the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25.

Retired Lt. Col. Jack Matthews shares his experience with alcoholism and the dangers it presents to the lives and careers of Marines, to more than 1,000 Marines in attendance at the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25. (Photo by Cpl. Christopher Duncan)


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Master Sgt. Brad Colbert, a Marine whose character was featured in "Generation Kill", speaks to the effects of combat stress and the importance of learning to manage it in positively during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25.

Master Sgt. Brad Colbert, a Marine whose character was featured in "Generation Kill", speaks to the effects of combat stress and the importance of learning to manage it in positively during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25. (Photo by Cpl. Christopher Duncan)


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Retired Maj. Gen. Mark Graham shared his experiences with suicide and the loss of both his sons, to more than 1,000 Marines in attendance at the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25.

Retired Maj. Gen. Mark Graham shared his experiences with suicide and the loss of both his sons, to more than 1,000 Marines in attendance at the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25. (Photo by Cpl. Christopher Duncan)


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Retired Superior Court Judge Pamela Iles, founder of the Family Violence Project and Save the Date program spoke to over 1,000 Marines about the dynamics of family violence in the community during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25.

Retired Superior Court Judge Pamela Iles, founder of the Family Violence Project and Save the Date program spoke to over 1,000 Marines about the dynamics of family violence in the community during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25. (Photo by Cpl. Christopher Duncan)


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Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, sergeant major for 1st Marine Expeditionary Force shares his beliefs on Marine Corps leaderships role on healthy communication with Marines in their command during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25.

Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, sergeant major for 1st Marine Expeditionary Force shares his beliefs on Marine Corps leaderships role on healthy communication with Marines in their command during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25. (Photo by Cpl. Christopher Duncan)


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Alyce La Violette, a marriage, family and child counselor explains the damage that can be caused through family violence to more than 1,000 Marines during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25.

Alyce La Violette, a marriage, family and child counselor explains the damage that can be caused through family violence to more than 1,000 Marines during the 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center Oct. 25. (Photo by Cpl. Christopher Duncan)


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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --

Marine & Family Programs hosted their 10th annual Heroes and Healthy Families conference at the Pacific Views Events Center, Oct. 25. Guest speakers shared personal experiences and provided information on various subjects to promote healthy development.

This conference has served over 14,000 Marines and their families across the U.S. and focuses on conveying the warning signs of combat stress, family violence, substance addiction, depression and suicide with intent to afford leadership the opportunity to recognize and respond to Marines and their family members that are in need of support.

“The HHFs’ program helps us move in a positive direction by educating our young leaders in the areas of suicide, sexual assault, hazing and safety,” said Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Green, sergeant major for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. “In the Marine Corps we stress knowing yourself and seeking self improvement, and this is a time where we want to stop, take a look at ourselves and recommit to talking to someone if we have problems and reaching out to those who may need help.”

While Pamela Iles, a retired Orange County superior court judge, was on the bench, she started to see more and more service members in my court room. Some were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and some were potential suicide victims.

“I decided, not long after, that I wanted to start a program that would help them learn better coping skills and make services available that would provide support to prevent such incidents from occurring,” said Iles.

“We work with Marine and Family Programs to find out what issues they want addressed and what’s relevant to their base,” Cathy Mccarrell, the executive director of the HHF program. “When we host the event they bring the counseling staff and the resources, and we provide guest speakers who share their knowledge and expertise with the attendants.”

“We target leaders because they can receive the information and share it with the Marines and sailors in their command,” said Iles. “I don’t want them in the courtrooms. They shouldn’t be there and since a lot of these issues are judgment driven, if we can equip them with the proper tools, we can effectively prevent these incidents before they occur.”

Green said, “My heart pours out to the HHF who have devoted their time and resources to go all around the Marine Corps to provide a service to those who have a need.”



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