Arnold Fisher receives a standing ovation for his efforts as the driving force behind private donations of more than $50 million to build the new Center for the Intrepid, a 65,000-square-foot rehabilitation center, and two new Fisher Houses that can house up to 42 families. More than 600,000 Americans donated to the foundation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Daren Reehl)
Servicemembers who are amputees, burn victims or otherwise severely injured in combat operations were guests at the unveiling of the new Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio Jan. 29. (U.S. Air Force photo/Daren Reehl)
The symbol of a broken ring, cracked but still intact, marks the entrance to the new Center for the Intrepid, a 65,000-square-foot rehabilitation center next to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Daren Reehl)
Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton honor servicemembers who were severely injured during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom during the unveiling of the Center for the Intrepid, a rehabilitation center adjacent to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Daren Reehl)
Capt. Scott Kulla demonstrates firing a replica of the 9 mm pistol using the firearms training simulator, a virtual firing range at the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio Jan. 29. (U.S. Air Force photo/Daren Reehl)
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter M. Pace talks to a crowd of injured service members at the unveiling of the new Center for the Intrepid rehabilitation center adjacent to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. More than 3,200 people attended the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Daren Reehl)
Justin LaFerrer, an occupational therapist, demonstrates the Flowrider, a machine that creates wave action to help injured patients with balance and strengthening exercises at the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio Jan. 29. Four floors of state-of-art equipment make the $50 million-dollar facility the only one of its kind in the world. (U.S. Air Force photo/Daren Reehl)
A formation from the 12th Flying Training Wing at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, follows the official ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 29 of the new Center for the Intrepid, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Daren Reehl)
Staff Sgt. Justin Beil is escorted by Army Capt. Brian Freideline from Brooke Army Medical Center before the ceremony to open the Center for the Intrepid, a rehabilitation center for amputees and burn victims. Sergeant Beil is assigned to the 59th Medical Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and will use the new facility on an out-patient basis. (U.S. Air Force photo/Daren Reehl)
1/29/2007 - SAN ANTONIO (AFNEWS) -- An aircraft carrier that sparked the spirits of a nation following the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor during the dark, early days of World War II has become the namesake of the world's most technologically advanced rehabilitation center for amputees and burn victims unveiled during an emotional-packed ceremony here on Monday.
The Center for the Intrepid, a four-story, 65,000 square-foot facility adjacent to Brooke Army Medical Center and two new Fisher Houses were officially opened during a two-hour dedication ceremony.
Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain, along with the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter M. Pace, the Honorable Gordon England, Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey and Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Honorable R. James Nicholson, made remarks during the dedication.
More than 3,200 guests included senior military leaders, major contributors, many of the injured service members from Brooke Army Medical Center and several celebrities that included Rosie O'Donnell, Michelle Pfeiffer, with a performance by John Mellencamp.
"We are here to dedicate, not a memorial, but a monument to the determination and courage of the steadfast men and women who serve selflessly," said Bill White, president of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and master of ceremonies for the dedication.
"It is a day of destiny, because it demonstrates forever the commitment of the American community to honor those who serve the twin pillars of freedom and democracy without regard to politics, personality or personal gain. This $50 million 'state-of-the-world' physical rehabilitation center - all privately funded - is the largest single private contribution to our nation's wounded warriors in the history of our country."
The center will provide traumatic amputee patients, burn patients requiring advanced rehabilitation and those requiring limb salvage efforts with techniques and training to help them regain their ability to live and work productively.
The center's main departments include the military performance lab, occupational therapy, physical therapy, prosthetics, case management and behavioral medicine. Much of the technology found in the new center can't be found anywhere else in the world.
A Gait Lab is fitted with 24 cameras on an automated truss which use infrared light to analyze human motion. A computer assisted environment, called CAREN, is a 21-foot simulated dome with a 300-degree screen that immerses patients using sensors and high-speed infrared cameras and a moving platform that reacts to the patients' movements.
According to Army Maj. Stuart Campbell, officer-in-charge of the physical therapy department, the center has a huge advantage where prosthetic fitting is concerned. The third floor of the center provides patients with prosthetic fitting, physical therapy and a gym, within the same area.
"If this was a civilian facility, a patient would be fitted with a prosthetic device, go to physical therapy at another location, work out in a gym and return to the get the prosthesis adjusted. Here it's all done on one floor."
In the area of occupational therapy, the center focuses on restoring health and function following serious injury or illness. At the Center for the Intrepid, a fully furnished apartment has been created to give patients a real-world environment to practice everyday skills.
According to Capt. Florie Gonzales, an occupational therapist with the center, the apartment is equipped with a computer workstation with state-of-the-art voice recognition, a fully equipped kitchen and bath and a comfortable living room that completely takes them out of the hospital environment.
In addition to a daily living apartment, patients have a virtual driving simulator that helps them learn to adjust to driving without limbs in a virtual setting that parallels real driving experiences. Patients can also quantify their ability to qualify with weapons, using a Firearms Training Simulator that puts them on a 'virtual range' using 9 mm and M-4 replicas.
Other 'state-of-the-world' strengthening and physical therapy tools include a treadwall and a 21-foot climbing tower, a track, and a natatorium with a six-lane pool. A Flowrider is similar to a wave machine that helps promote balance, strength, motivation and confidence.
"What you see before you is a monument built by the contributions of 600,000 Americans - kids who gave pennies...and mothers and fathers who just wanted to say thank you," said Mr. Arnold Fisher, Chairman of the Board for the Intrepid Museum Foundation. "When you go inside you will see the most modern, advanced and unique training and rehabilitation center devoted to the advancement of the science and art of prosthetic rehabilitation and care for burn victims. The Center for the Intrepid has no equal anywhere...because the men and women who fight for our freedom have no equal as well."
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter M. Pace told the crowd of injured service members that their efforts were by no means in vain.
"There are those who speak about you who say, 'he lost an arm, he lost a leg, she lost her sight.. I object. You gave your arm. You gave your leg. You gave your sight. As gifts to your nation. That we might live in freedom. Thank you. And to your families. Families of the fallen and families of the wounded. You sacrificed in ways that those of us who have not walked in your shoes can only imagine."
Senator Hillary Clinton summed up the tie of Intrepid as a name for the center that applies to our wounded warriors today much as the USS Intrepid healed Americans more than 65 years ago.
"Intrepid is an example of how our country came together after a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor. The keel of the Intrepid was laid one week after Pearl Harbor. An attack that devastated our navy and shocked our country. And, the Intrepid was our first answer. To show the enemy that they have damaged our ships, but not our spirits. We are here again to celebrate once again that spirit. To thank our wounded warriors and their families for their devotion to duty..honor..country that their lives exemplify. We know that for many of our wounded warriors there will be a challenging road ahead. This center stands as that pledge: A solemn pledge of the healing and support our nation owes every one of you."