By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS - Patriot Furniture employees, USO members and Fort Hood Resiliency Campus members moved furnishings into the Fort Hood and Harker Heights Community Outreach Center on Monday.
The groups hope the building will be open to the public for the first time Friday.
The Outreach Center is a pilot program the Army is offering in Harker Heights, Sgt. Maj. Michael Aycock of the Fort Hood Resiliency Campus said. It will provide soldiers and their families some of the same counseling services they can receive at Fort Hood.
"(Families or just soldiers) can drive here and get the same services as they would on post," Aycock said.
The building will house members of the Army Community Service and Military Family Life Consultants. A chaplain and a financial readiness representative will also be on staff in the building, Aycock said.
The idea is that it will provide an outlet for those services to people whose access to Fort Hood is limited because of work or other obligations during business hours, Aycock said.
"I think for helping the families (or just a single soldier), it is going to be a great tool," Aycock said.
Numerous organizations devoted their time and money to the program to ensure the Outreach
Center opens in Harker Heights, including the Army, the USO, Patriot Furniture, the city and others.
While the Army is devoting the staff, the city is paying the rent for the facility, which is not to exceed $10,000.
Patriot Furniture donated about $7,000 in furniture. It also provided the movers for its donations.
"By providing the furnishings for this campus, Patriot Furniture and other patrons together will make a difference in the lives of those who sacrifice so much," Patriot Furniture CEO Eddy Vale said in a letter to the Herald.
The USO is providing its appliances to include computers at a cost of about $3,000. It will continue to provide other resources for the center after it opens, Fort Hood USO Director Robin Crouse said.
"I think this program is brilliant," Crouse said. "It shows that the community that is a great place, and it's going to keep getting better. ... We are a family even outside the gates of Fort Hood, that is for sure."
The center should be having a soft opening Friday with an official opening Monday and a grand opening sometime in the near future, Aycock said. The center is at 581 Pan America.
Contact Mason W. Canales at email@example.com or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.