Navy Deputy Surgeon General Visits Camp Lejeune Hospital
By Raymond Applewhite, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune Public Affairs
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Rear Adm. Karen Flaherty made her first official visit to Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune since assuming the role as the Navy Deputy Surgeon General, Mar. 3.
Flaherty visited Lejeune to take part in the dedication of the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune Fisher House and Wounded Warrior Battalion Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ). Flaherty joined Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, along with Fisher House Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Kenneth Fisher, to commemorate the opening of the facilities.
Several speakers attended the ceremony, all of whom drew applause from the crowd present.
"This is bigger and better than what I imagined," said retired Lt. Col. Tim Maxwell. "The Marines and family members now have a place they can call home."
Maxwell is credited with the original concept for the Wounded Warrior Battalions.
Marine Corps Installations East, Commanding General Maj. Gen. Carl Jensen, delivered a speech informing the crowd of the purpose behind the buildings.
"These facilities will allow for rest, rehabilitation, and recovery," said Jensen. "They are America's commitment to her service members. Our warriors will never suffer alone - not on this base, not in our community, or not in our Corps."
Fisher, whom the commandant made an Honorary Marine at a reception the night before, was the last individual to speak during the ceremony.
"The Fisher Foundation would never leave a military family behind while their loved ones heal," said Fisher. "This is Fisher House number 49, and to date we have built 53 Fisher Houses, helped 142,000 families and helped military families save 165 million dollars."
The second building, Wounded Warrior Battalion BEQ, is a three-story building consisting of 100 rooms designed for two occupants per room. A full service kitchen is included, as well as various lounge and recreational areas. The new facility is intended for easy access by Marines with disabilities, to include slip resistant flooring, hand rails along all corridors and bathrooms that are curb-less with grab rails.
The Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune Fisher House and the Wounded Warrior Barracks are two of four facilities comprising the larger wounded warrior complex, slated for completion within the year. The remaining facilities will be a wounded warrior battalion east headquarters and a wounded warrior hope and care center.
After the ceremony, Flaherty addressed the entire hospital staff. She stated that 'the high op-tempo' requires us to deploy on more than one occasion in some cases.
"Our folks are doing an outstanding job and when they return from these deployments their lives are changed forever," said Flaherty. "I strongly encourage you to watch out for each other, look out for your wing man and pay close attention to your fellow shipmates, and keep up the good work."
"We are excited to have Rear Adm. Flaherty visit our hospital to visit with our phenomenal staff and see the great work we are doing caring for Wounded Warriors. Our relationship with the Wounded Warrior Battalion and the generosity and patriotism of Mr. Fisher and the Fisher House Foundation, bring that care to a new level of excellence," said Capt. Daniel Zinder, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, commanding officer.