The United Service Organizations () broke ground Monday on Fort Belvoir’s Wounded Warrior and Family Care Center, a 25,000 square-foot facility that will help men and women injured in the line of duty with the difficult process of recovery.
The center marks the launch of Operation Enduring Care, the USO’s $100 million campaign to support warriors and their families. Unlike Belvoir’s new $1 billion , the Warrior Transition Complex will be a non-critical care center designed to help assist with the transition from recovery to civilian life.
"This will be a place for wounded warriors and their families to be together as families, away from the hospital environment," said USO President Sloan Gibson. “A place where they can enjoy a home-cooked meal together, where children can play; a place of respite.”
Gibson said the event was more than just a groundbreaking ceremony – it was a symbol of America’s commitment to its wounded warriors all over the world.
Operation Enduring Care will will raise $25 million for Wounded Warrior and Family Care Centers at Fort Belvoir and Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. It will also raise $25 million to endow the facilities and $50 million to support ongoing programs. The Belvoir facility will feature family friendly rooms, recreational areas, a learning center and a business center.
Marine Master Sgt. William “Spanky” Gibson, who lost his leg after he was shot through the knee during a tour in Iraq, said injuries sustained in battle affect the soldiers who receive them, but they’re sometimes harder on their families, who have to drop everything to help them recover and adjust.
Sgt. Gibson asked the audience to imagine a 22-year-old service member with a 21-year-old wife and perhaps a 2-year-old child. “Now, throw this monster curveball at them,” he said. “And then they have to reintegrate back into society.”
The Wounded Warrior and Family Care center will provide a place for families to do that, he said.
U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11th) said that the USO, along with the Northrop Grumman Foundation and all of the project’s supporters, were fulfilling part of a “sacred obligation” to the men and women in the military.
“What we’re building right here is not another government office building,” he said. “It’s a home.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) said the facility was about restoring the souls of wounded warriors through time with their families. “It’s about the healing power of love,” he said.