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New Warrior Center ‘Gift From American People’

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

FORT BELVOIR, Va., Feb. 5, 2013 – The USO, two days after its 72nd birthday, again demonstrated its commitment to wounded, ill and injured U.S. troops and their families by opening its largest center in the world. 

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Senior Army leaders, United Service Organizations leaders, and corporate sponsors participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new 20,000-square foot warrior and family care facility at Fort Belvoir, Va., Feb. 5. DOD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The USO hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony here today to showcase its new 20,000-square foot Warrior and Family Care Center which will serve all U.S. service members and their families.

Sloan D. Gibson, USO president, identified a number of corporate sponsors such as the Northrop Grumman Foundation which, at $5,000,000, provided the largest donation in the USO’s history for the center.

“But what you won’t see are the names of nearly a quarter of a million individual Americans that have made a donation honoring the wounded, ill and injured troops and their families to Operation Enduring Care,” he said.

“I think when we talk about this center being a gift from the American people that’s what we’re talking about,” Gibson said.

The USO says this new center will support the non-clinical needs of wounded, ill and injured troops and their families throughout their rehabilitation. It will be staffed by USO of Metropolitan Washington and 350 volunteers.

Army Lt. Gen. William J. Troy, director of the Army Staff, said this new center will help troops and their families cope as they recuperate from their injuries.

“This will give the families a place to come -- a home away from home if you will -- to relax and visit,” he said. “And to have a place that will be very supportive and nourishing to them as they go through this.”

“It’s extremely important that they have a place that they feel comfortable -- that they feel at home,” Troy said. “Especially when you’re going through some of the things that you have to go through as a wounded warrior or someone who’s here at Fort Belvoir for treatment. It’s a great asset to have a place like this here.”

Army Col. Gregory Gadson, garrison commander of Fort Belvoir, praised the USO for recognizing the need for a warrior care center.

“The USO has not only identified a need, but they’ve taken action, and that is so commendable,” he said. “And it’s their leadership and their partners – corporate, private, volunteers, members of the board – that have mustered the efforts that have made this day possible.”

“I’ve had the privilege, over the past few years, of watching the USO’s efforts evolve as they’ve continued to provide for our service members,” Gadson said. “[And] not just overseas, but in a very visible way, stateside.”

Gadson, a double amputee, said the USO’s efforts in building the center in two and half years will vastly improve the quality of life of troops and their families.

“I know that my family and so many other families are in a better place because of the efforts of the USO,” he said. “And there’s a lot of personal emotion that I have as I’ve seen this building.”

“And now it’s about to come alive with so much hope and so much promise,” Gadson added.


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