By Sharilyn Wells/ParaglideSeptember 9, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Linden Oaks keeps on growing.
With the new Shughart Elementary/Middle School in the Fort Bragg satellite housing area, Fort Bragg officials recognized the need to better serve it's military children and their parents.
On Aug. 30, Fort Bragg dedicated it's brand new School Age Services center on Linden Oaks in honor of Staff Sgt. Orlando Morales.
The nearly $8.3 million Morales SAS center will provide multiple activities for about 200 military children. Morales SAS center is the third of nine, new child development centers and SAS centers that are planned to help support the growing need for Family support on Fort Bragg.
"We have about 900 children on a waiting list to go to some sort of school on post," explained Col. Stephen Sicinski, Fort Bragg's garrison commander. "These new centers are going to almost double our capacity to serve our children."
The center is named in honor of Staff Sgt. Orlando Morales who was a Special Forces Soldier killed during a small arms fight in Afghanistan on March 29, 2003. Morales' Family attended the dedication ceremony, including his 9-year-old daughter, Angelina.
"(The buildings around Fort Bragg) stand to honor the legacy of our fallen heroes. Staff Sergeant Orlando Morales left his legacy," said Sicinski. "Morales Family, rest assured that this building will stand for a minimum of 50 years and will bare his name forever," he said.
"I hope each and every child who steps foot in this building will embody the spirit of Staff Sergeant Morales and that they remember and reflect on the many heroes who have given their lives for our country," said Brig. Gen. Edward Reered, Jr., U.S. Army Special Operations Command's commanding general.
After the unveiling of the plaque honoring her father, Angelina bravely walked to the podium and thanked the people who attended the ceremony.
Angelina, who was only 20 months old when her father was killed, then read a poem that she wrote for her dad. By the time she was done reading it, there wasn't a dry eye in the audience.
"First of all, I said I wasn't going to cry," she smiled, wiping tears from her eyes. "My dad was a courageous man, an honorable man. It's an honor for you to have specially chosen him for this dedication. It feels good to know that someone cares."