ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor (CSSC) held its third annual Spirit of Thanks Tour at Fort Belvoir, Va. Dec. 17. The representative group of more than 20 different APG community organizations brings together military and civilian
community leaders in government, industry and education to show their thanks for military service members and their families.

Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin from APG Garrison, and Harford County Executive David Craig, served as the group's
ambassadors, making an early morning departure from the HEAT Center in Aberdeen via motor coach bus.

"This tour is our opportunity to bring positive energy to those who need it the most. APG wants to show our Warriors how much we care about them and how much we respect their service to our nation," said Ervin.

"Through the generous donations of Freedom Federal Credit Union, Shaffer, McLauchlin and Stover, and Susquehanna Bank, transportation and other logistical support was provided in coordination with the Harford County Chamber of Commerce," said Karen Holt, CSSC BRAC manager. Additionally, more than $3,000 in restaurant and retail gift cards
was distributed to Wounded Warriors and their Family members during the visitation. Gift card donors included AFCEA Aberdeen Chapter, McDonalds, Royal Farms, Mitre Corp., Conveyor Handling, Armed Forces Directory, and several individual contributions.

The three-hour tour began with an opportunity to meet Col. Gregory Gadson, the Garrison commander of Fort Belvoir and a bi-lateral amputee; a tour of the Fisher House facility that can accommodate up to 12 families; a tour of the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital designed to help facilitate healing, and an overview of green technologies that make the LEED Gold-certified facility more energy efficient; and a tour of the Warrior Pavilion and Warrior Transition Barracks (WTB).

The CSSC "Spirit of Thanks" Tour has visited both the former Water Reed Army Medical Center and the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in past years. Where those tours focused more on amputees and prosthetics technology, the Fort Belvoir tour focused on such techniques as prolonged exposure therapy and canine therapy and behavior modification in response to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Fort Belvoir is also
using a holistic approach to healing with alternative treatments such as yoga classes, acupuncture, meditation and massage in conjunction with more conventional treatment methods. Health care providers are already seeing significant gains for Wounded Warriors who have experienced less visible injuries.

The state of the art facilities, coupled with the professional, enthusiastic staff members who explained the various departments and helped tour participants see the integration of technologies reaffirming the commitment to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines.

In the spirit of the holiday season, the APG community embraced the spirit of gratitude for those who have made sacrifices for freedom, spread holiday wishes to military men and women, and reaffirmed the growing defense community's mission focus: the war fighter and the peacekeeper.