New Walter Reed Facility Provides Respite For Wounded Warriors

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BETHESDA, Md. (WJZ)—Medical science has saved thousands of lives on the battlefield, but sometimes the saved can use a little break from medicine.

Alex DeMetrick reports that’s exactly the kind of relief a new facility is promising in Maryland.

One step at a time is more of a daily struggle than a cliché at the Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, where those wounded in war come to heal.

Nathan Toews spent two years on that journey, and returned Tuesday to celebrate the opening of something that looks nothing like a hospital.

“This is actually my first opportunity to be here, and it’s, wow, look at it. It’s amazing,” Toews said.

The United Service Organization and its sponsors unveiled the Wounded Warriors and Family Center on the hospital’s grounds.

“A quiet space where they can come away from the surgeries or going to doctor’s appointments and come and just relax,” said Elaine Rogers, president of Metro Washington USO.

The new facility has fountains and outdoor patios, complete with fire pits.

There are also computer stations for quiet things like schooling and an equipped music room to make a little noise.

There’s a large upscale kitchen and dining room to get away from hospital food for patients and their families.

“This will provide more room to visit than just a little hospital room. So I think it’s going to provide a wonderful asset for families that are here,” said Jerri Toews, Nathan Toews’ mother.

And while it’s close enough to care, it offers something a bit more carefree for those facing long stays.

“Definitely. Definitely. The kind of intrusive lighting, you know, this place feels so much warmer, and hospitals don’t always provide that,” Nathan Toews said.

But starting now, Walter Reed will.

The new USO facility will be staffed and operate by volunteers.

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