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Center aids warriors in transition
Soldiers have resources, services at their fingertips
soldier-family ctr 001
Fort Stewart’s new Soldier and Family Assistance Center has a spacious lobby graced by a stone fireplace and comfortable seating areas. - photo by Denise Etheridge

Fort Stewart officials cut the ribbon Tuesday on a 15,000-square-foot, one-stop service facility where injured and ill warriors and their family members can receive rehabilitative and transition assistance in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

“This is the beginning of our Warrior Transition Battalion footprint,” Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton said.

Milton said the newly opened Soldier and Family Assistance Center signals the start of improving Warrior Transition Battalion facilities on post.

The center will bring 21 services under one roof so soldiers dealing with emotional and physical challenges need not be frustrated by having to go from one location to another to receive assistance, SFAC Director Diane Smith said.

“This is the right thing to do for soldiers and their families,” Smith said. “We’re going to take care of our soldiers and their families commensurate with their service to our country.”

The center will provide support to wounded warriors and their families so they can heal mentally, physically and spiritually, and be prepared to transition back to the Army or civilian life, she said.

Smith was thrilled to welcome soldiers and their families into the handsome brick building through a white columned entrance.

“Before we were in two different buildings,” she said. “We only had five offices and the rest worked out of cube space.”

3rd Infantry Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo supported the center from its groundbreaking last year to its completion this past February, according to Smith. She said the general was open to SFAC’s suggestions regarding the facility’s construction and granted their request for additional computers and wi-fi for transitioning soldiers’ use.

“That’s a great benefit for our soldiers,” Smith said. She said transitioning soldiers take online classes and use computers to compose and send resumes and job applications.

The center actually opened for business two weeks ago, Smith said.

“We currently have a population of 365 soldiers – and some of them have families – using the facility,” she said.

Milton said SFAC has served more than 25,000 soldiers and their families since 2007.

The center will provide warriors in transition financial counseling, educational services, career counseling, military personnel benefits and services, stress management, substance abuse counseling, legal services, pastoral support and child care referral. Activities and events can also be held at the center.

The building has a playground and courtyard outside, and a fully functional kitchen, a spacious lobby, a child-friendly waiting area, several offices and an Internet café inside.


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