Winnefeld Lauds USO, Contributors for Newest Warrior, Family Center
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
BETHESDA, Md., April 1, 2014 A new 16,000-square-foot warrior and family care center will be essential to the recovery of wounded, ill and injured troops, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the center’s opening today.
Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the opening of the new warrior and family center at Naval Support Activity Bethesda in Bethesda, Md., April 1. DOD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“It’s hard to capture in words what a center like this means to recovering warriors and their families who are on such a roller coaster of almost every emotion in the human inventory,” Navy Adm. James. A. Winnefeld Jr. said. “It is an essential part of recovery.”
The vice chairman said the center will allow wounded warriors and their families “to be able to get away, in the midst of it all, to such a beautiful, peaceful and comfortable place right here on campus.”
Winnefeld read an excerpt from an e-mail his wife, Mary, received through the USO after a recent event at the Fort Belvoir, Va., facility in which the writer expressed a “heartfelt thanks” and appreciation for a night of dinner, trivia and fun for a family that may not have had that opportunity without the center’s establishment.
“‘Heartfelt thank you for all that you do, and all the staff does to provide quality programs and services not just for the soldier but for the entire family,’” Winnefeld read to the audience.
“That pretty much says it all,” he said. “That service member has severe Post-Traumatic Stress and usually has a very difficult time handling large crowds.”
“His spouse,” Winnefeld said, “one of those remarkable people we call caregivers, said it was an amazing improvement for him to be able to be in a room with more than 50 people, but also to interact for the first time with people that he did not know.”
The vice chairman thanked the USO and its 5,000 volunteers, as well as those that helped contribute to bringing the new Bethesda facility to fruition.
“Thanks to the generosity and energy of others, and this remarkable organization we call the USO,” Winnefeld said, “these people who will use this center are able to do things they simply couldn’t do anywhere else on the road to recovery.”
(Follow Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter:@MarshallAFPS)