By Ms. Christie Vanover (IMCOM)October 10, 2008
CHIAfE+VRES AIR BASE, Belgium Aca,!" Aca,!A"Top-shelf. State-of-art. Phenomenal.Aca,!A?
These compliments are a far cry from the words once used to describe the conditions and facilities in place to care for wounded Soldiers, but at ChiAfA..vres Air Base, Belgium, accolades like these filled the air as the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux opened the doors to its new Warrior in Transition barracks rooms Oct. 9.
Aca,!A"I think we [the Army] knew we had to do better to care for our wounded warriors,Aca,!A? said Col. Jim Drago, commander of USAG Benelux. Aca,!A"These rooms represent the power of what a community can do when they pull their resources together. They allow Warriors in Transition to receive the focused attention they need.Aca,!A?
The Benelux began implementing changes in 2007 as part of an Army-wide initiative to improve recovery and transition for Soldiers wounded downrange or on the job. In addition to activating a Warrior Transition Unit at the SHAPE Healthcare Facility, a Soldier and Family Assistance Center was established through Army Community Services.
Aca,!A"The WTU is such an important program because it takes Soldiers out of an atmosphere where theyAca,!a,,cre not able to heal and helps them with the healing process back into the force or back into the community,Aca,!A? said Staff Sgt. Brandon Bucher, squad leader, Benelux WTU.
Aca,!A"Every Soldier goes out and puts their life on the line giving 110 percent, and weAca,!a,,cre obligated to give them 110 percent back,Aca,!A? he added.
Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Dysick was assigned to the WTU after he was injured during individual deployment training. He is the first Soldier to take advantage of the new barracks rooms.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs relieving to walk into the bedroom and to see the comforts,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"You can see the time and energy that went into them. You see that the Army cares enough about me to let me recover.Aca,!A?
The rooms, located on the first floor of the single soldier barracks at ChiAfA..vres AB, were reengineered with improvements like wider doors and showers to accommodate the SoldiersAca,!a,,c needs.
In addition to the required necessities, the rooms have flat-screen televisions, game systems, air conditioners and are fully-furnished and decorated.
Andrews Federal Credit Union donated some of the dAfAcor and said they are committed to refreshing the rooms, as often as needed, as Soldiers rotate through.
Aca,!A"When we came back from Vietnam, no one did what weAca,!a,,cre doing for the Soldiers today, and it is an honor for Andrews Federal Credit Union to be involved.Aca,!A? said Al Johnson, a 30-year veteran and vice president of Overseas Operations for AFCU.
In addition to the new Warrior in Transition rooms, the Benelux celebrated the opening of two education classrooms located within the barracks.
One is a traditional-style classroom with rows of desks, and the other is designed for seminar-style classes or round table discussions. Both rooms are internet-equipped and fully-furnished.
Aca,!A"The concept is to bring the school to you,Aca,!A? said Drago.
The Army Continuing Education System will start college classes out of the new rooms in late October. The rooms can also be reserved for and used by different organizations throughout the garrison.
Aca,!A"The whole community came together,Aca,!A? said Drago, as he gave special thanks to the Directorate of Public Works; the SHAPE Healthcare Facility; Army Community Services; the Education Center; Andrews Federal Credit Union; the 39th Signal Battalion; the Directorate of Logistics; Resource Management; the engineers; the Housing Office and the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
Aca,!A"There were a lot of partnerships to make this happen. These rooms are examples of why the U.S. military is so special.Aca,!A?