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Tinker campaign presses forward with true grit

Although springtime brings warmer weather and sunnier skies, it can be a tough time for some at Tinker Air Force Base.

Returning from holiday visits with family and friends plus the financial issues that can result from the holiday season can leave personnel feeling less than their best and 72nd Air Base Wing Community Support Coordinator Karen Blackwell says this makes it the perfect time for the Tinker Community Action Team’s True Grit campaign.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on the installation getting people resilience coping skills. But sometimes, it’s deeper than that,” Blackwell said. “It’s deeper than just having coping skills. It’s really about what it is that makes you dig deep down and keep pressing forward regardless of your obstacles and your circumstances.”

Herschel Walker, former NFL and mixed martial arts star, helped kick off the campaign when he visited Tinker to talk to the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex and the 552nd Air Control Wing on March 25 about his personal obstacles and the grit that it took to overcome them.

“I think when Herschel Walker was here he really exuded what we say grit is,” Blackwell said. “It wasn’t just coping with the things that happened to him, there was a deep down passion and perseverance that said ‘this is what I want to do’ and he did whatever it took to get beyond his obstacles.”

Blackwell says five ways that people can identify having grit are by:

• not letting things go,

• persisting through difficulties,

• surviving tough challenges,

• enjoying self-improvement

• having a strong will

However, the goal of the campaign isn’t just to help people identify the strengths they have within themselves, it’s also to be encouraged by others’ stories of digging deep and finding that grit. The second phase of the campaign, “Show Me the Grit,” will focus on sharing the story of Airmen who have had to find that grit themselves.

“One of the things we want to do over the next few weeks is talk about those stories of people we work with every day that have grit,” Blackwell said. “Just by hearing those kind of stories people have felt encouraged to think about what they already have.”

The second phase will also include table topics being set around base to promote conversation among personnel so they can get to know each other better. Blackwell says the goal will be to put the table topics in areas that will get people to put down their phones and interact with each other.

The third phase of the campaign will include visits from helping agencies to the various organizations on base to market their services.

“We’ll be marketing services available to help people who don’t feel like they have that grit,” Blackwell said.

The campaign will continue throughout the spring and more information about Tinker’s various helping agencies can be found at tinker.af.mil/Tinker-Helps.