BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
Nearly 10,000 miles: the distance participating Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services personnel ran, walked, and pedaled during the month of April in support of the agency’s sexual assault prevention awareness Teal Ribbon Relay event.
The effort helped the major sub-command make a clean sweep of the relay’s friendly competition crowns, earning it the highest total miles among DLA sub-commands, the highest total percentage of workforce participation, and the highest mileage count for an individual participant.
“I’m pleased with the amount of participation and the support we received from across our sites – not just headquarters,” said DLA Disposition Services Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Robin Rogers. Throughout the Defense Department, SARCs serve in a special capacity that allows them to act as an advocate and provide guidance to victims of sexual assault. Rogers supports the agency’s property disposal personnel at sites throughout the globe.
“Awareness is the first step to prevention, and prevention requires help from everyone,” she said.
About 100 people dutifully reported their distances throughout the month. The unequivocal MVP of Team Disposition was Environmental Protection Specialist Matthew Little, who, despite the diminutive surname, produced a massive personal mileage output. As the overall mileage champ of the event, he poured in 650 miles in just 30 days. For the math averse, that’s an average of almost 22 miles EVERY DAY.
How did you do it, Matthew? What’s your secret? Please share, we must know.
“I self-identify as a mountain biker,” said Little, who has served for about two years with DLA in Jacksonville, Florida, and has pedaled as far as 120 miles in a single outing. After racing BMX-style bicycles during his youth, he said he was invited on a mountain biking expedition with a buddy in 1995 and “has been hooked ever since.”
While Florida offers no real mountains, per se, Little said he has easy access to a rugged state park marked by winding dirt paths meant primarily for off-road vehicles. He’ll regularly ride at least three or four days a week and has friends who accompany him during his standard 20-mile weekday afternoon jaunts. But when he sets off on a 50-mile weekend rides during the weekend, it’s a little harder to attract companions.
“No one wants to go,” Little said. “But I understand.”
After coming in second in DLA’s 2021 Teal Ribbon Relay, Little said he was motivated and willing to raise his own mileage to help in any way he could to heighten people’s awareness of the scourge of sexual assault.
Little said he knew sexual assault victims while growing up and understands that victims can be very reluctant to talk about it. He said he saw how much damage it can do to a person to hold all that in, and it became very personally important to him to contribute something toward raising awareness of resources and help remove stigmas.
National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is observed nationally throughout the month of April, and the agency’s SAPR office encourages employees, families, and friends to engage in awareness and support activities both then and year-round.
The 24-hour SAPR hotline (1-800-841-0937) is manned by a DLA SARC. DLA employees can call anytime to speak with a live agency SARC to report a sexual assault or receive information and resources.