FORT HOOD — A new facility to treat the “invisible wounds” of war became one step closer to reality Thursday.
State and Fort Hood officials broke ground on the National Intrepid Center of Excellence Satellite Center at Fort Hood.
Gov. Rick Perry stood with Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, III Corps and Fort Hood commander, and Col. Ivan Speights, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s deputy commander for administration and chief of staff, to kick off construction of the 25,000-square-foot facility at the corner of Santa Fe Avenue and 58th Street.
“It’s really amazing,” Milley said. “The work being done in support of our wounded warriors and soldiers is tremendous.”
Perry said it was a “profound honor” to be a part of the ceremony.
“In Texas, we share a very special bond with the people in our military,” he said. “It’s neighbors helping neighbors ... pretty average work for this state.”
Funded through the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the center will treat service members with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder using unique treatment options. It will be under Darnall’s direction to allow coordination of care between the new center and those already at Fort Hood.
This is the fifth satellite center, with the most recent groundbreaking held at Fort Bragg, N.C., earlier this year. Each is a joint venture between the government and the American people, said Arthur Fisher, honorary chairman of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
“Why isn’t the government doing it?” Fisher asked the crowd. “We can build it in half the time, at half the cost and twice the quality. We can do things now with the troops that come home back to their bases. Not after they’ve left the service. ... That’s when we need to help.”
He also emphasized that 100 percent of donations to the fund go toward the centers. The board picks up all administrative costs.
Retired Staff Sgt. Spencer Milo was wounded in 2011 in Iraq, and spoke about his treatment at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Bethesda, Md. He arrived there with two diagnosis — TBI and PTSD — from Fort Bragg and left with 27.
“For each diagnosis, I had a comprehensive plan of action,” he said. “We left with a lot of hope and a light at the end of the tunnel.”