Morale Welfare & Recreation (MWR) at Mc Connell AFB, Kan., continues to improve the quality of life for airmen and their families. In addition to the development of a thriving outdoor recreation area on base, Outdoor Recreation recently renovated its aging outdoor pool, adding $987,000 of improvements, including new slides, a spray park, an aquatic climbing wall, outdoor furniture and other amenities.
The outdoor pool, which was built in 1959 and had not had any type of renovation or construction since 1992, received new gutters and drains, fencing to enclose the pool area and new lap lanes, which were added to give the pool a more modern look. The pool snack bar was also reconstructed, and the bathroom was enlarged to accommodate usage from the outdoor pavilion and pool.
“This project has pushed our outdoor pool into the 21st century,” says Outdoor Recreation Direc-tor Jim Vause. “The upgrade has had a dramatic effect on the use of the pool, and on the faces of the many family members who now come here. Before the renovation we had a single slide in the shallow end of the pool but nothing in the deep end because our diving boards had to be removed due to the dive-zone limits. This made the pool a place for families to come and hang out, but if they wanted to have fun they would drive to the nearest YMCA and spend the money in order to play. We have now surpassed that hurdle and have many of the things that our local YMCAs have.” ...
With the opening of a new fully accessible playground earlier this year at the Warrior and Family Support Center (WFSC), Texas, Wounded Warriors and their families now have a safe place to play outside together.
The WFSC, which was funded and built by Returning Heroes Home in 2009, provides coordinated services to patients, next-of-kin and extended family members with a primary focus on wounded Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom warriors.
Wounded Warriors and their family members visit the WFSC to maintain contact with other military members or extended family members, to receive emotional support and answers to their questions, and to extend their rehabilitation away from the hospital. The rehabilitation involves learning to cope with warrelated disabilities as individuals, as couples and as families. The facility provides a friendly, comfortable environment in which to take a break, watch a movie on big-screen TVs, play video games, check e-mail or use the Internet, select a book or magazine to read, make a phone call or just grab a cup of coffee.
“Just as there was a need for the WFSC, there was a need for this playground — no question about it,” says Judith Markelz, director of the WFSC. “Many of our Wounded Warriors have families and children, and you have to remember that the children are the unwitting victims of war. They didn't sign on the line, they didn't ask daddy to go and they didn't get asked. They don't participate in the war, but they do suffer all of the consequences of being a family member of an amputee or burn victim. Children should be playing, and not worrying about a thing, and this playground is as good as it gets. Anyplace where we can get them outside and playing is a wonderful thing.” ...
For decades, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has provided veterans with opportunities to participate in sporting activities, clinics, events and competitions. Whether it is the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which just celebrated its 32nd year in June, or the Warrior Games, which just wrapped up its 3rd year in May, or the annual summer and winter sports clinics, the VA and its partners such as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Department of Defense, provide a vitally important benefit to these wounded warriors.WHEELCHAIR GAMES
Co-presented by the VA and PVA, the 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games, held June 25-30, 2012, returned this year to Richmond, Va., the site of the first-ever Wheelchair Games back in 1981. This year's Wheelchair Games was one of the largest in its history, bringing approximately 550 veterans together to compete against and form lasting bonds with their peers.
“The VA and PVA are really proud that we are celebrating our 32nd year,”“ says National Veterans Wheelchair Games Director Dave Tostenrude. “The Games represent a huge commitment to serving our disabled veterans, from both organizations, and these programs have an immeasurable benefit to our veterans, which is represented by how many come back each year to participate. Whether they win a medal or don't win a medal, the events have a lasting effect on veterans, encouraging them to go further than they thought they could, and bringing them together in a fellowship of sorts.”
“The National Veterans Wheelchair Games started in the city of Richmond whose motto is 'Thus do we reach the stars,'” adds Bill Lawson, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “They inspire everyone — athletes and spectators alike — to reach for the stars, to overcome adversity and to reach their full potential.” ...
The new JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), Hawaii, Fitness Center ushers in a new era of health and fitness for the Navy and Air Force. The $24.3 million, 62,413-square-foot facility represents the first joint-base venture to build a new fitness center, and will meet the physical fitness training needs of sailors and airmen for decades to come.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii handed the keys for the new Fitness Center to officials from Navy Region Hawaii's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office April 25. The project was completed on time and within scope, and the base had a grand opening for the state-of-the-art facility on June 11.
“As a joint venture, the facility was designed to meet the needs of both sailors and airmen,” says JBPHH MWR Fitness Director Mark McFarland. “This is a green building, featuring 1,400 photovoltaic cells on the roof that harness solar energy for the building. We also utilize energy efficient features such as skylights and light adjusting ballasts, green building materials — natural stone and tile, ceramics and recycled rubber — and chose many green products and equipment for use in the facility. We hope to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating — the highest rating possible.“
According to Thomas Obungen, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii Public Affairs, an efficient building technique of tilt-up construction was used for the project, which consists of casting large concrete panels on site and tilting them up into place. ...