From Harford County government:
Thirty-eight associates of the Chesapeake Science and Security Corridor, a consortium of local and federal government, education officials and members of the private sector, recently traveled to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit wounded warfighters. Harford County Executive David R. Craig and Command Sergeant Major Rodney Rhoades of the Aberdeen Proving Ground Garrison served as ambassadors for the “Spirit of Thanks” tour.
The purpose of the visit was for representatives of the consortium to express their thanks and appreciation to our nation’s wounded warriors for their service and offer holiday care packages to soldiers and their families. More than $3,000 was contributed for gift cards for the care packages.
Karen Holt, BRAC Manager for the APG-CSSC, regional BRAC office coordinated the event. The group departed from the HEAT Center in Aberdeen and was briefed by Command Sergeant Major Rhoades as to what they would see at Walter Reed. “They need your strength, not your pity,” Rhoades stated. “They don’t need you feeling sorry for them. They need your strength,” the Command Sergeant Major remarked.
Speaking to the group County Executive Craig stated, “When I applied to go the military academy, the first thing they did was send you to Walter Reed so you could see what soldiers looked like after they had been in war. The very first person I met only had half a body – no body below the waist. You really have to appreciate what they people have done,” the county executive stated.
Denise Carnaggio, Deputy Director of the Harford County Office of Economic Development said she saw a connection between the wounded and research taking place at APG. “I went to the therapy sessions and learned a lot about the soldiers and the strength and sacrifice they’re making. I saw a real connection with some of the research that’s going on at the Aberdeen Proving Ground that’s supporting the rehab treatment of these young soldiers,” Carnaggio stated.
Command Sergeant Major Rhoades stated Team APG, including Senior Installation Commander Major General Nick Justice, Garrison Commander Colonel Orlando Ortiz and Command Sergeant Major Hector Marin, the installation and U. S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command senior enlisted advisor, were supportive of the tour.
The cost of the one-day visit was offset by donations. “We had approximately 25 different organizations, government agencies, and private industries, from Baltimore to Cecil County, participate in the tour,” Holt stated.
“We felt passionate about doing this in lieu of an award ceremony that we typically have among those service groups to talk about what we achieved with BRAC implementation. This was an opportunity to put into perspective why we’re supporting APG. It put a face on that message,” Holt added.
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