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Family Matters Blog: 'Virtual Installation' Opens in Pennsylvania

By Heather Forsgren Weaver
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2010 – Heather Forsgren Weaver of American Forces Press Service, is a regular contributor to Family Matters. In this blog, Heather writes about the opening of an Army Strong Community Center in Coraopolis, Pa., that helps military families who live hours away from a military base.

Pennsylvania Center to Help Military Families

The nearest active-component military installation to Pittsburgh is four hours away. That's why the recent opening of the Army Strong Community Center in Coraopolis, Pa., is so important, said Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve.

"We cannot do enough to give back, to support our soldiers and families," Gen. Stultz said. "Our men and women in uniform are a national treasure. The least we can do is to bring the support to them."

Army Sgt. 1st Class Alyn-Michael Macleod and Army Sgt. Nicole Dykstra of the 99th Regional Support Command wrote about the Coraopolis center's grand opening in the American Forces Press Service article, "'Virtual Installation' Becomes Reality."

The "virtual installation" concept was developed by Gen. Stultz's wife, Laura, after she realized that services available to military families on installations aren't available to those who don't live near a base.

Military family members want to talk to someone face-to-face and the "virtual installations" let them, Mrs. Stultz told Macleod and Dykstra. For example, a "virtual installation" center staff can provide answers to questions from in-person visitors or callers and connect them to helpful resources.

The Pennsylvania center is the third "virtual installation" to open. Elaine Wilson visited the first center last year in Rochester, N.Y. She wrote about her visit in "Families Find Care at Center" and "Center Offers ‘Personal Touch'."

The second center opened earlier this year in Bevard, S.C.

Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania also attended the Coraopolis center's opening ceremony. "It is so important to have this program to help 'wrap the arms' around the citizen-soldiers and their families to provide the help they need," said Rep. Murphy who serves as a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps.

To comment on this blog, please visit the Family Matters blog.

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