News: WWBn-East to open Warrior Hope, Care Center
Story by Lance Cpl. Jackeline Perez Rivera
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - The Wounded Warrior Complex aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is scheduled to commemorate the opening of the Warrior Hope and Care Center Dec. 7, 10 a.m. at Building PP-3 on Wounded Warrior Drive near Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune.
“The Warrior Hope and Care Center is a wounded warrior reconditioning and resource center,” said Maj. Paul Greenberg, executive officer of Wounded Warrior Battalion East. “It provides resources, reconditioning and transition services for more than 200 ill and injured Marines, sailors and their families.”
The Wounded Warrior Complex already houses the WWBn-East Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, which has 100 two-man rooms and the Company A and B offices along with the WWBn-East Headquarters which holds approximately 50 military and civilian staff members who oversee all WWBn-East companies and detachments.
The Warrior Hope and Care Center supports the battalion’s service members by providing a central location for family support, mental health care, medical case management, recovery care coordinators, educations specialists, chaplain programs and transition assistance. The building will include 58 offices and workstations for its staff.
“The Warrior Hope and Care Center (has) a state of the art physical training facility,” said Greenberg.
The physical training facility will include a 25-yard lap, three-lane pool with an underwater treadmill and other equipment designed for use by wounded warriors.
Outdoor multifunctional-covered basketball and tennis courts are under construction and set to be completed in December.
Along with its physical training areas, the center has a community area with a family lounge, a child play area and a rock-climbing wall.
“The Warrior Hope and Care Center helps facilitate the camaraderie of our recovering Marines and families, as well as brings together the elements of our battalion staff under one roof,” said Greenberg. “Healing together in a supportive environment while incorporating activities to spark enthusiasm and renew commitment helps our Marines maintain the warrior ethos, which is critical to their successful recovery and transition.”
The Marines and sailors of WWBn-East come from a variety of backgrounds, while about half were wounded in combat, many of those who were not injured in combat deployed and saw combat in the past.
“Injuries and illnesses range from gunshot wounds and orthopedic injuries to cancer, with many of our combat-wounded patients suffering from Traumatic Brain Injuries,” said Greenberg. “Some patients who came to Wounded Warrior Battalion East for non-combat related injuries have Purple Hearts from earlier deployments. The bottom line is all Marines and sailors at WWBn-East are treated with dignity, respect and compassion. All are treated equally regardless of the nature of their wounds, injuries or illnesses, or where they were incurred.”
Approximately 200 of the more than 400 service members with WWBn-East are aboard MCB Camp Lejeune. Many are spread geographically in Germany, Virginia, Minnesota, Florida, Texas, and Maryland.
“The opening of the center will be a huge advantage for our Warrior Athlete Reconditioning Program,” said Greenberg. “The WAR Program provides opportunities for ill and injured Marines to engage in both physical and cognitive activities outside the traditional therapy setting. Within the construct of this program they can fine tune their skills, strengthen their bodies, and support each other through their recovery process.
“In professional sports, the athletic training room provides the athlete with a positive, motivational, non-medical environment in which they can achieve the level of physical fitness necessary to continue competing,” he continued. “In the same fashion, wounded warriors use the WAR Program to regain their physical and mental well-being.
“Many rehabilitative programs effectively restore only a percentage of overall function. The WAR Program will help to increase overall function beyond the level of the rehab process, thus helping to decrease potential for re-injury and increase the Marines’ self-esteem and expectation for success.”
The WAR Program includes aquatics, cycling, strength and conditioning, track and field, wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball, kayaking, archery and shooting with air pistols and air rifles.
“This is inspiring for me to see,” said Greenberg. “When I arrived on staff July 2010, we had approximately four employees in our WAR Program, and they worked out of a small trailer by Building H-14. These staff members used a number of facilities spread throughout Camp Lejeune to work with a portion of our wounded warriors. Now we have a robust program with more than 25 coaches, exercise reconditioning specialists, certified athletic trainers and certified therapeutic recreation specialists. The majority of our WAR Program activities will take place at one central location, which will mean significantly increased participation in the program.”
It will also enhance unit cohesion for both patients and staff, said Greenberg. Staff members will be working and training in closer proximity to each other instead of utilizing multiple facilities across the base.
“WWBn-East will use the Warrior Hope and Care Center to provide a one-stop shop for our wounded warriors and their families,” said Greenberg. “Marines and families transitioning out of the Marine Corps will now have easier access to services to assist them in planning their future success in education or employment. This includes resumé building, internship opportunities, building relationships with potential employers, researching areas of study, and professional development services for both wounded warriors and their families.”
The construction benefited local businesses, 20 percent of construction material was acquired within 500 miles of the construction site, and all plants used for landscaping are local and native. The facility fulfills Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification requirements.
“We are very excited about this new facility, as it will be the pulse of the battalion aboard the Wounded Warrior Complex at Camp Lejeune,” said Greenberg. “This center will bring us together and enhance esprit de corps for both patients and staff. It is a benchmark in the evolution of the Marine Corps' wounded warrior program at Camp Lejeune.”
Civilian guests should wear business casual dress for the grand opening and military guests should wear woodland utility uniform.