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Thursday, February 01, 2007

2008 Candidates, Celebrities Among Those Dedicating New Troop Rehab Centers

An array of celebrities, including dueling 2008 candidates for the White House, were among 3,000 people taking part in the dedication ceremony for The Center for the Intrepid -- a $50 million, 60,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art physical rehabilitation center -- and two new Fisher Houses, 21-room residences for hospitalized soldiers'families, earlier this week in San Antonio, Texas.

U.S. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and John McCain (R-AZ) were among the luminaries. Clinton and McCain are competing for their respective party's presidential nomination and may face each other in the 2008 election.

The event also featured a performance by singer John Mellencamp, and a military fly-over. Other special guests included Denzel Washington, Rosie O'Donnell, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer and country music group Big & Rich.

The Center for the Intrepid is unique because of the number of rehabilitation programs co-located under one roof, enabling a morecomprehensive care approach. Many of the next-generation treatment and rehabilitation environments were conceptualized and designed based on direct input from specialists in amputee care, and patients themselves.

More than 18,000 men and women have been wounded in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The Center for the Intrepid will provide for the critical needs ofAmerica's most severely wounded and disabled military personnel, giving them the best opportunity to regain their ability to live and work productively," says Clinton. "Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to these men and women who have volunteered to defend our country, and their sacrifice demands that their care and rehabilitation be given the highest priority."

"I am proud to be part of this wonderful initiative to help our severely wounded service personnel. I am equally inspired by the thousands of Americans who have stepped forward to help our wounded troops andveterans," says McCain. "I am aware of the tremendous challenges facing the young men and women who have been injured in our nation's service. This facility will go far in providing them the ability to meet those challenges."

Also opening today are two 21-bed Fisher Houses, designed as homes awayfrom home for families of patients receiving medical care at major militaryand VA medical centers. The homes are normally located within walking distance of the treatment facility or have transportation available. There are more than 35 Fisher Houses located on 18 military installations and eight Veterans Affairs medical centers around the country and in Germany.

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