Storytellers: Team BLAZE Airmen CONNECT through their stories

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Keith Holcomb
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Four Team BLAZE Airmen shared their stories in the Columbus Club July 18 to a group of their peers, who surrounded the stage in seats, intently listening.

Storytellers is an annual event held on Air Force Bases across the globe, setting the stage for Airmen and their families to tell their stories of resilience and triumph.

The event originated out of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and has grown to become an event held at many bases all over the world. It began as an event for Airmen of any rank to step in front of others and talk about a difficult time in their life and explain how they found a solution.

“I did not have the skills at the time I needed to get better,” said Col. David Fazenbaker, 14th Flying Training Wing vice commander “I had to seek the help of professionals across the base. I promise you asking for help is not a bad thing, if it was, I wouldn’t be standing in front of you as a colonel.”

The value of Storytellers was not lost on the four Airmen from Team BLAZE who spoke of their time battling suicide, straining through 365 day deployments, close family deaths, and mental illness.

After the stories were told, the Airmen stayed on stage to answer questions and speak to the audience. This was important for the group to learn and grow from the four Airmen’s experiences.

Each story had their own motivations to get better and took different routes to find a healthier life. This proves anyone is capable of reaching out for the help they need to get better, regardless of which resource they choose to utilize.

“What we learn today will be how we can care for each other,” Fazenbaker said. “Be bold in the actions you take to help your fellow Airmen and yourself.”