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News | Oct. 30, 2023

USO's Warrior Center at Landstuhl celebrates 15 years

By Marcy Sanchez

A “home away from home” is what the United Services Organization (USO) has resembled for Service Members since World War II. From airports to deployed environments, the organization has helped strengthen resilience and hoisted morale for millions of troops. 

On Oct. 20, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) proudly joined in the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the USO's Warrior Center, at Landstuhl, Germany. The center, the first of its kind, opened on Oct. 21, 2008, and was constructed specifically to provide comfort to wounded, ill and injured service members who are receiving care at LRMC, serving countless Service Members, while offering a touch of home and sense of community during their recovery.

Over the years, the Warrior Center has not only been recognized for servicing troops, but also hosted a variety of guests, some well-known who wanted to show their appreciation for the troops. Dignitaries, public figures, and famous athletes, have graced the center, including 44th U.S. President Barack Obama, Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs, and many other advocates, not only boosting morale but also spotlighting the crucial work the center undertakes daily.

Another unique aspect of the Warrior Center is its design. Specifically crafted to cater to the needs of recovering service members, the facility boasts comfortable lounging areas, a fully equipped kitchen, entertainment zones, and even a serene outdoor space. Additionally, around-the-clock volunteers help daily operations at the center, which only employs a handful of personnel. 

“I always wanted to give back to our military and this is one of the best ways to give back,” said Higinio Mendiola, the USO Warrior Center manager. “(The USO) mission is so important and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Mendiola, who started volunteering at the Warrior Center in 2019, says if there’s anything he’s learned over the past five years it’s to be kind to everyone, as you never know what someone is going through. Coincidently, “always be kind” is the motto for the center, which Mendiola says staff strive to live up to each day by “providing comfort, support and hopefully a bit of happiness to the brave warriors to whom our nation owes so much.”

Beyond physical amenities, the Warrior Center offers a range of programs aimed at facilitating the healing process. From therapeutic arts and crafts sessions and group discussions, to host nation trips, every activity is designed to foster camaraderie, promote mental well-being, and aid in overall recovery.
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