By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexandra Snyder, National Naval Medical Center Public AffairsAugust 22, 2011
BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 22, 2011 -- Wounded warriors began moving into new specialized barracks on board Naval Support Activity, Bethesda, Aug. 20 following the official opening of the Tranquility Hall barracks.
The barracks will service outpatient military members from both the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center, NNMC.
The new 306-bed facility features 153 two-bedroom, two-bath suites equipped with common kitchens and seating areas, washer and dryer units, flat screen televisions and computers with printers.
Tranquility Hall is one of several barracks outpatient wounded warriors will live in while continuing to heal aboard Naval Support Activity, Bethesda, or NSAB.
"These suites are mini-apartments, specifically tailored to the needs of wounded service members," said Marlin Ruhl, NSAB's director of Fleet and Family Readiness. "They feature walk-in closets and wheelchair accessible showers in each bedroom and bath."
Tranquility Hall provides a home-like environment for patients and because of the additional bedroom, multiple caregivers, such as parents and spouses, are now able to stay and assist their loved ones as well.
"Being able to be in the same room as my mother and fiance every day is such a blessing," said Marine Sgt. Liam Dwyer, who moved into the barracks Thursday. Dwyer, who was injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan May 22, 2011, said that his recovery would have been impossible without the help of those two.
"The fact that my mother is here is the biggest help in the world to me," he said. "Just the simple things that people take for granted, like bending down to pick up things or get dressed; I can't do those things and my mother helps me. My fiance' is the one who pushes me to do things for myself and having them here in the same room with me is going to help me exponentially in my recovery. These barracks are a blessing."
"It's awesome being here in these barracks with Liam," added Laurie Parmbentier, Dwyer's mother. "Getting Liam out of the hospital and in an environment where he can be more independent is also doing amazing things for him emotionally. There were times I spent the night in the hospital room with him, so I am looking forward to being able to sleep in the comfort of my own bed and still be able to be there to assist him."
In its quest to meet all the potential needs of its residents, Tranquility Hall also boasts the Warrior Cafe', run by Morale, Welfare and Recreation on the building's first floor. The 206-seat restaurant allows residents and staff at NSAB to purchase healthy lunch, dinner and snack options seven days a week.
Also located on the first floor is Tranquility's new patient childcare facility, Austin's Playroom, which offers respite care for children ages six weeks to 12 years, for up to 25 hours a week.
With space for 27 children, Austin's Playroom will give priority to the children of wounded warriors, but will also accept other children by appointment. The facility is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays-Fridays. Parents must attend a 10-minute orientation and bring in their child's shot record prior to using the facility.
Above all, said Ruhl, every aspect of Tranquility Hall was designed to relieve the worries of wounded warriors and their families.
"This building allows families to live together and heal together," he said. "It's in very close proximity to our top notch medical facility and offers all injured service members the peace of mind of knowing they're in capable hands 24/7."