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New mental health treatment center opens in midst of shutdown

By Alison Parker
Published On: Oct 02 2013 04:33:34 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 03 2013 08:28:25 AM CDT
CAMP LEJEUNE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Marines and sailors seeking treatment for traumatic brain injuries, PTSD or other similar conditions now have a new center where they can find more personal care.

"A vehicle struck the vehicle I was riding in, and I was thrown to the opposite side of that vehicle, and hit my head pretty good," said LCpl. Kyle Jastren, a wounded warrior.

Jastren was in a training accident in December, but the new Intrepid Spirit Center, a National Intrepid Center of Excellence satellite facility, that gives him hope for a full recovery.

"It's the one-on-one personal, and people actually care about your well being, your health, and your future," Jastren said.

The spirited atmosphere at Wednesday morning's ribbon-cutting ceremony quickly turned to concern.

"It would be inappropriate for me to have, to be here in front of you, who have served this nation, and not comment on the disgrace that our country faces," said Sgt. Maj. Arnold Fisher, honorary chairman of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, while addressing those attending the ceremony.

The shutdown has caused the Naval Hospital to operate without about 100 of its administrative employees.

"The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund will work every day to continue to support those who have suffered TBI and PTSD," Fisher said.

Everyone working with patients is considered essential, so they're not furloughed. But Jastren fears some people's treatment may still suffer.

"As far as the government shutdown goes, I think it is a shame," Jastren said. "I think it's a shame that veterans who do need that help, the people taking care of them, aren't able to do so."

There's no time frame on how long the shutdown could last. Many want it over soon to give military and civilian families peace of mind.