By Jen D. RodriguezDecember 3, 2009
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony opened the Marine Annex at Brooke Army Medical Center Nov. 23 for wounded, injured and ill Marine warriors, Family members and the Marine Patient Affairs Team as a place to call their own.
More than 150 people attended the ceremony, followed by a barbecue.
"Marines and their Families needed their own place to come together and bond as traditional Marine units do in order to share their experiences and emotionally recover from their injuries," said Lt. Col. David Barnes, Marine Patient Affairs Team officer in charge.
"It's a place where old warriors can come and sit with current ones and continue to pass on the guidance and wisdom and to remind us that Marines take care of their own."
As part of the BAMC footprint, the annex is located across the street from the hospital, next to the Powless House, behind the Navy Operational Support Center. Its 5,000-square- foot single-floor space houses 17 staff members including military and civilians, along with a recreation area where Marines can study, relax, gather with comrades and most importantly, recover.
Construction for the annex began in January and concluded in August.
According to Barnes, the annex is a culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication, attributing the development of the project to the invested time and effort of Marines, such as former Marine Patient Affairs Team Commander Lt. Col. Douglas Olbrich and Gunnery Sgt. Brian Schiller.
Guest speaker Marine Col. Gregory A.D. Boyle, commanding officer of the Wounded Warrior Regiment, said the concept for the Marine Annex came about due the enormous growth at BAMC.
Before the annex, Marine offices were scattered in six separate spaces throughout the hospital.
"The hospital was running out of room where the Marines had been located," Boyle said, adding that in the MCWWR, everything is based on caring leadership, which means taking care of our Marines from the heart.
"Our focus is always on the Marine and Family to address their needs and concerns," he said.
Marines, Families, Sailors, Airman and Soldiers all made a commitment to us, and we have made a commitment to them to help fight for their future; to give hope for what they had and will continue to have, during their care Boyle said.
Barnes concluded that the Army has provided immeasurable support for the Marines here at BAMC, "and now the 'Devil Dogs' and their Families have a place where Marines can proudly point to and call their own."