FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Fort Bragg Soldiers have long boasted about its 13 physical fitness facilities available to take care of their fitness needs. Now they have something else to talk about. The post has opened a new facility catering to its wounded warriors.

The Warrior Transition Battalion-Hardy Hall exercise room opened its doors Monday amid a sea of dignitaries, news reporters and well-wishers, who turned out for the celebration.

XVIII Airborne Corps Commanding General Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, Womack Medical Center Commander Col. Nadja West, Warrior Transition Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Terence S. McDowell and Johnson Controls Incorporated's John Murphy and Betty Kennedy marked the official opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility, which is located behind Hardy Hall.

Dan Ahern, director of Fort Bragg's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted the event in which Helmick and Murphy served as guest speakers.

The facility, which was once used as storage space for Hardy Hall, now features various weight machines, treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes for use by wounded warrior Soldiers who are housed in Hardy Hall and other nearby buildings.

"I want to thank the whole Johnson Controls team for doing this," Helmick said. "When you have over $200,000 and you're donating equipment to a facility for us, that's a big deal."

Helmick said it's important to have a facility for the Army's wounded warriors because they "carry on a tradition of service to our country.

"Sometimes you go into a room where you see a man or a woman who've lost a limb, or two limbs or in some cases, even three limbs and you feel sorry for them," he said. "But they don't let you feel sorry for them because they give you energy. They give you energy for the pride of service that they have, serving our country and they give you energy by the therapy and progress that they make each and every day."

Helmick pointed out that many of the Army's wounded warriors want to remain on active duty, despite their injuries.

"Many of those have the ability to stay in the military based in large measure on what we do here at Fort Bragg with our warrior transition unit and (because of) facilities like this to make sure they can heal; because healing is their number one priority," he explained.

Helmick used a quote from former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to explain how important JCI's contribution to the facility was and how thankful he is to the organization for their efforts.

"Winston Churchill once said, 'you make a living by getting but you make a life by giving" and that's what Johnson Controls did," he said. "They are giving back to us a little piece of things that we can't afford ourselves for our wounded."

Murphy said JCI was proud to be able to give back to the Fort Bragg community, with which it has forged a long-term partnership.

"While we've been at Fort Bragg for many years, today's celebration marks the creation of a new relationship with the men and women who call this place home," said Murphy, who is JCI's senior vice-president and general manager for systems in North America, Latin-America, the Middle East. "We know that Fort Bragg is, perhaps, the most vital installation within the Department of Defense.


"The Johnson Goals Foundation is proud to have helped create the world-class fitness center for our magnificent wounded warriors and their Families," he added.

According to Ahern, the center is a great convenience to the post's Warrior Transition Battalion.
"It means a significant improvement in service to our warriors in transition that are housed here in Moon and Hardy Halls," he explained. "It's really going to give them a first-class fitness center, which they've never had before."

He pointed out that in the past if they wanted to work out, they had to go to another fitness center off site.

"This way, they'll be able to workout in the same building that many of them are housed in or which is, literally, across the parking lot from where they're housed," Ahern said. "It's a big convenience and improvement."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16