Army Helping Soldiers Heal at Wiesbaden WTU
February 20, 2008
WIESBADEN, Germany (Army News Service, Feb. 20, 2008) - Wiesbaden's wounded warriors now have a healing hospice designed by community caretakers to ensure their personal recovery takes top priority.
The U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Warrior Transition Unit officially opened during a ceremony Feb. 5 at Wiesbaden Army Airfield. However, Wiesbaden has been providing WTU services since last fall.
"I can say Army leadership was right on the mark in ensuring our wounded warriors are adequately housed, cared for and supported during the significant and sometimes life-altering changes they face while here and afterwards," said Col. Ray Graham, USAG Hessen/Wiesbaden commander.
A number of garrison organizations and government contractors pulled together in completing the $400,000 project that began in April 2007.
Nine sponsor organizations - Andrews Federal Credit Union; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; USAG Wiesbaden Army Community Service; The Holy Family Parrish; Wiesbaden Wahoo's Youth Swim Team; United Services Organization; Victory Christian Fellowship; Wiesbaden Community Spouses Club; and Kedric and Dalita Savage - added to the overall comfort and quality of life at the WTU by decorating rooms with accessories ranging from comforters to carpets. Another organization -
Lucia's Gifts, Souvenirs, Plaques and Trophies - supported the facility with decorative plaques and engraved photographs throughout the facility.
"The sponsor support has been absolutely outstanding," said Russell Hall, director of Installation Management Command-Europe. "The Army is always prepared to supply the basic necessities - furnishings and linens - of a room for the Soldier if required, but the touch the sponsors added makes the environment far more personal and conducive to the Soldier's healing."
Legal stipulations restricted garrison officials from soliciting sponsors; however, various community organizations and members were eager to make contributions out of patriotic sentiment.
"This was an opportunity for the community to come together on a single project, and while there were legal details that had to be clarified initially, I was confident that the community would come through in support of this effort," said Sharon Fields, interim Soldier and Family Assistance Center coordinator. "The generosity reached beyond the installation's gates and proved that individuals throughout the Wiesbaden community truly have a heart for our troops."
"We owe this to our troops for what they put on the line for us everyday," said Janie Foster, WCSC member. "How can we not do anything for them' As a wife, but more so, as a mother of a Soldier, I think of what if my son is ever assigned to a WTU. Every person who gets involved with this project should consider the 'what ifs' as they prepare these rooms."
While patriotism was the common thread for generosity, the mixture of sponsoring organizations also contributed vis-AfA -vis faith, character, charter, relation and compassion.
"We are all interconnected, and we are very conscious of our connection to the military," said Emily Gourdine, AKA Sorority, Mu Psi Omega Chapter president. "We have members of our organization, as well as relatives who are serving downrange and around the world. We would not be able to function without them. This is one way of showing our appreciation and giving back to the Soldiers for their service to us."
The facility can lodge up to 40 troops. Handicapped-accessible wheelchair ramps and wheelchair lifts are installed in the front and at both ends of the building. Four rooms are modified for handicap accessibility, including emergency call buttons and modified showers.
The offices of platoon cadre personnel and the SFAC are co-located in the facility to provide life support, social, administrative and counseling services to the healing Soldiers.
After acknowledgment of the value of the sponsors' efforts, Col. Keith Gallagher, commander of European Regional Medical Command, reaffirmed the commitment to each Soldier and reminded everyone of the Army's purpose for the WTU.
"Healing takes time. It takes time and it takes all of us working together as a team - as a family," he said. "We're going to work hard to help you move on to the next chapter of your life."