Centers Will Increase Capacity and Enhance Care for Returning Veterans
Camp Lejeune, NC (October 2, 2013)– Over the past 12 years, more than 2.5 million U.S. troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and hundreds of thousands of service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, due to IEDs, combat related incidents and training activities. Today, those service members, and thousands of others who have yet to receive a diagnosis have new hope, as the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF) joined with military leaders to officially dedicate the new $11 million “Intrepid Spirit” NICoE (National Intrepid Center of Excellence) Satellite Center set to provide crucial treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) in returning service members at Camp Lejeune, NC.
This is the second of nine planned Intrepid Spirit NICoE Satellite Centers nationwide to be completed and open to treat active duty service members. The first Center was dedicated on September 11, 2013 at Ft. Belvoir, VA. Since opening its doors on August 12th, the Camp Lejeune Intrepid Spirit NICoE Satellite Center has already provided care for 158 service members.
“It is our moral obligation as citizens of the United States to protect and support the military heroes who have fought for our freedoms,” said Arnold Fisher, Honorary Chairman of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. “PTS and TBI have become an epidemic among returning service members and, all too often, they return home only to find that the care they need is not available or accessible. Without treatment these invisible injuries can ruin the lives of our best and bravest. It is our hope that this new center, and the others that follow it, will not only offer a new hope for recovery to the men and women who sustained injuries, but also serve as a beacon of hope and support for their families.”
The Camp Lejeune Intrepid Spirit NICoE Satellite Center was funded and built by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF), through a $100 million campaign to support returning veterans with TBI and PTS. All the Centers will be located at military bases and medical centers around the country to provide medical care for service members without having to separate them from their units or leave their families for extended periods of treatment. This proximity to family and friends is expected to enhance their care and rehabilitation.
“We are truly indebted to the American people and to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund for their contributions and efforts in making this place of healing, a reality,” General John Paxton, Assistant Commandant of the United States Marine Corps said in a statement. “This Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center at Camp Lejeune will be an enduring beacon of hope and place of respite for our Marines and their families, as they continue to cope with both visible and invisible wounds from combat. Our nation and our citizens owe much to our service members and their families. This center will answer a truly noble cause – that is taking care of Marines.”
“This is yet another great milestone in the pursuit of providing better care for our wounded warriors,” said Brigadier General Robert F. Castellvi, Commanding General of Marine Installations East – Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “The NICoE Satellite Centers nationwide are forging a path forward in comprehensive and holistic care and treatment to benefit our service members and their families – not just for now, but for generations to come.”
Each center will be 25,000 sq. ft. and cost $11 million to build. Upon completion, the Intrepid Spirit NICoE Satellite Centers will be gifted to the Department of Defense for their use in diagnosing and treating returning service members.
“We are privileged and grateful to work hard at something important: the care of our service members,” said CAPT Tom Johnson, Neurologist and Director of the Intrepid Spirit NICoE at Camp Lejeune. “This new state-of-the-art facility will enable our providers to give our wounded warriors and their families the opportunity for maximum recovery and return to function.”
“I know firsthand that TBI is a life changing injury and can be life ruining,” said LCPL Kyle Jastren who was injured during a training activity last December. “Thanks to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the NICoE at Camp Lejeune I am excited about my future again. The doctors and medical staff have truly taken me under their wings and the treatment and care I have received have given me renewed hope.”
The design and mission of the Satellite Centers are based on the original NICoE, opened in 2010 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. Operated by the Department of Defense, NICoE is the most advanced facility of its kind in the country and is the center of the Armed Forces’ efforts in researching, diagnosing and treating TBI, PTS and related injuries sustained by military personnel. Hundreds of American Service Members have received some form of diagnosis or treatment from NICoE in the last three years.
Each Intrepid Spirit NICoE Satellite Center will incorporate:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden trauma or head injury disrupts the function of the brain. Common causes of TBI include damage caused by explosive devices, falls and vehicle or motorcycle accidents. Most reported TBI among Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom service members and veterans has been traced back to Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, used extensively against Coalition Forces. Symptoms can appear immediately or weeks to months following the injury.
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes is also currently engaged in a social media campaign, #MakeItVisible, which encourages all Americans to lend support to the NICoE Satellite Center Effort, and to learn about the invisible wounds of war, specifically Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress. Visit www.makeitvisible.org for more information.
About Camp Lejeune
Camp Lejeune N.C. is the home of Marine Corps Expeditionary Forces in Readiness. The base and surrounding community is home to an active duty, dependent, retiree and civilian employee population of approximately 170,000 people. The base generates almost $3 billion in commerce each year, coming from payrolls and contracts to support the structure required to train and equip our modern Marines. Camp Lejeune’s size is currently 156,000.
Posted on October 2 2013 in News