HeRO Team: Supporting Healthy Habits
By 2nd Lt Benjamin Aronson
| 15th Wing Public Affairs | Jan. 11, 2021
The 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s Health, and Readiness Optimization Team meets during COVID-19 to plan health initiatives for Airmen at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Nov. 4, 2020. The HeRO Team is part of an Air Force-wide Health Promotion program that uses data to target negative health habits in squadrons and combat them. (Photo by (Courtesy Photo))
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
The Air Force Health, Readiness, and Optimism program, or HeRO, is an initiative designed to improve the quality of life of Airmen across the force.
The 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron’s HeRO Team uses data from the 15th Medical Group Health Promotion to identify negative health habits and make plans on how to best help Airmen.
“We brief the commander on the HeRO report which consists of areas focusing on sleep, nutrition, physical activity, and other lifestyle choices,” said Arletta Thompson, 15th MDG Health Promotion coordinator. “With this data, we can see what the squadron looks like as a whole and where the problem areas are.”
The 15th AMXS HeRO Team provides Airmen with resources and programs they may not be aware of pertaining to certain health and lifestyle issues such as classes offered by the 15th MDG and workplace improvement efforts.
“It was going great, but then COVID-19 hit,” said Staff Sgt. Nikolas Schlosser, 15th AMXS HeRO Team chair. “The first month we figured it would just blow over, but we quickly realized it wouldn’t and we needed to adjust because our Airmen needed us.”
The first initiative during COVID-19 was to re-open the unit’s gym with COVID-19 guidelines in place such as social distancing, spray bottles, and limits on how many members can work out at a time. The HeRO Team also published workouts that require little to no equipment that Airmen could complete on their own.
The HeRO Team briefed Airmen on resources and offered advice on being responsible with alcohol at squadron roll calls to raise awareness and offer help to those who need it. As a result, an Airman approached them to let them know their brief led him to notice some unhealthy habits in their life and seek help.
Looking ahead, the HeRO Team is creating a physical fitness challenge between the C-17 and F-22 maintenance squadrons to promote physical health and increase morale, and working on installing new water-bottle filling stations for the squadron.
“It’s a big step when people outside the medical community take such an interest in their health,” said Thompson. “We’re all in this together and the HeRO Team marries what we do as an Air Force with the health and readiness aspect of the medical world.”