Employees share stories of strength during Resiliency Day

By Michael Tuttle DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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One beat cancer. Another overcame a fire that destroyed his family’s home. And another changed his life through fitness.

The three employees also shared their stories of strength during life challenges in videos that were shown to coworkers during Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s Resiliency Day event Sept. 14.

The event highlighted the agency’s Resiliency program, which aims to help employees improve their ability to function in the face of adversity.

“You are our most valuable resource,” DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Charles Hamilton told employees to open the event. “We do a great job with our day-to-day operations. But we can’t operate without you.”

In his Profile in Resilience video, Elias Duncga talked about the fire that destroyed his family's home and all of their belongings in October 2014. Dungca is the chief of the Command Support Office’s organization development division. He said that when he realized he, his wife and two sons were safe, it helped him accept what happened and shift to recovery mode.

Dungca gained strength from his faith, family and friends. Two years since the fire, he said his family has returned to their normal lives.

Shortly after Christina Panichelle found out she had breast cancer, she gathered her coworkers and told them she loved them. She knew she’d lean on them during her months of treatment. After five chemotherapy treatments, she was eventually cancer free.

While she was sick and going through chemotherapy, she said she still wanted to enjoy life, and did so by living in the moment.

Matthew Eckenrode, a contract specialist with Industrial Hardware, wasn’t proud of how heavy he looked in a picture his friend posted to Facebook in 2009. So he changed his life, starting with running. He’s now run multiple 5Ks and the 10-mile Broad Street Run in Philadelphia. He also lifts weights and has lost 40 pounds.

For Eckenrode, improving his physical fitness has helped develop the other resilience pillars: mental, social and spiritual.

Panichelle and Eckenrode’s Profiles in Resilience videos will also be published on the DLA YouTube channel over the next few weeks.

Employees also learned how to recognize and manage stress during the event. Norm Jones, a licensed professional counselor with the Employee Assistance Program, presented calming techniques, how to avoid thinking traps and other stress management strategies.

“If you’re alive, there’s no way to avoid stress,” Jones said. “It’s important to keep stress from overwhelming you and keep you from functioning.

“When stressed, our emotional response overreacts,” Jones said. “Take a step back to look at the situation more reasonably and logically. Look at the objective evidence.”

To talk to an EAP counselor about stress, anxiety, grief or depression, call 1-800-222-0364, (1-888-262-7848 – TTY). You can also go to www.FOH4You.com, where you'll find articles, tip sheets, interactive tools, podcasts and more. The EAP is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.