The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund has completed construction of a world-class state-of-the-art physical rehabilitation facility for wounded warriors at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Center opened on January 29, 2007.
The Center will serve military personnel who have been catastrophically disabled in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Center will also serve military personnel and veterans severely injured in other operations and in the normal performance of their duties, combat and non-combat related.
The Center encompasses a 60,000 square foot structure, providing ample space and facilities for the rehabilitation needs of the patients and their caregivers. It is constructed on a site sufficient in size to meet the needs of patients and caregivers and will include top-of-the-line indoor and outdoor facilities.
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund has successfully reached its goal of $40 million for constructing the Center. We thank the over 600,000 who contributed to this effort with gifts large and small.
Although sufficient funding has been received for the construction costs, the Fund is accepting donations to provide additional services for our wounded military and veteran heroes and their families. These services may include facilities for patients' children, additional medical equipment and supplies, medical research to improve the care of patients, or other areas relating to the Center's activities including the patients and their families. One hundred percent of contributions to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund will continue to go to these services, with nothing taken out for the Fund's administrative costs. We thank you for continuing to support our efforts.
Monday's dedication of a new, $50 million rehabilitation center at Brooke Army Medical Center will be as glitzy as one gets on an Army post, with celebrities and politicians shaking the hands of soldiers with severe burns and amputated limbs.
As construction workers toiled at a breakneck pace for some 14 months to finish the cutting-edge facility on time, they kept thinking about the wounded.
"That was a big emotional mover for the job," said Dean Poillucci, vice president of Skanska USA Building, construction manager on the project.
About 1,000 tradesmen helped with the center, which took 325,000 man-hours to build. "This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a facility for the people in our armed services," he said. "The challenges were many, and it took a lot of long days and long hours, but we knew what it was for."
The dedication also underscores a nation's gratitude. The center is the largest, costliest facility ever built for war veterans with private funds more than 600,000 individual and corporate donations, from $1 to $1 million.
Features in the four-story center include an indoor gym with a running track and 21-foot rock climbing simulator; a gait lab that makes three-dimensional animated images to help guide and improve movement; a virtual reality dome, where veterans can improve their balance; shooting and driving simulators; and a water aquatics area, with a "flow rider" that resembles a ride at Schlitterbahn.
The ornate, oval-shaped center is more than twice the size of BAMC's 29,000-square-foot amputee care center, which opened two years ago.
Next to it are two new 21-room Fisher Houses. The Fisher House Foundation raised about $6 million to give relatives of the wounded a place to stay, with freshly planted palm trees, a rambling courtyard and a children's playground.
The foundation partnered with the Intrepid Fund and built two new houses side-by-side for the first time, in conjunction with the opening of the Intrepid Center.
Ken Fisher, Arnold Fisher's son and chairman and CEO of the Fisher House Foundation, said the new houses have wide hallways, rooms that are spacious and wheelchair-friendly and large common areas: kitchens and dining and living rooms, so families with similar difficulties can share, and bond.
"They will have a feeling of warmth," he said. "We want these houses to be homes." One wounded Marine at BAMC, Cpl. Aaron P. Mankin, 25, said he's had more than 20 surgeries since he was badly burned over 25 percent of his body, including his face, hands and arms, the result of an explosion in Iraq two years ago.
But with his wife and infant daughter nearby, he's adjusting to his disability and disfigurement, while learning to be a father. Since he was wearing goggles when injured, he still has eyes to see his baby, Madeline.
"There's a lot of questioning and self-doubt any dad has. Those are compounded," he said in a raspy voice, from inhalation burns.
"The exciting part is there's no other place you can go to get this type of quality care," said Mankin, of Rogers, Ark.
Excerpts from article in www.MySanAntonio.com
By Scott Huddleston, Express-News 01.28.07
You can find a photo array and several videos of the facility on the site.