Crestron hosted the first Eagles Program dedication ceremony at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital recently, unveiling the new home theater donated to provide comfort and entertainment for America’s heroes recovering from injuries sustained during combat overseas. The Crestron Eagles Program was conceived by Crestron president George Feldstein in order to honor the service and sacrifice of wounded warriors returning home from battle.
“This theater system represents the largest single donation any military hospital has ever received,” explained Pete Baca Jr., USMC Ret., CTS. “They may get a $1,000 or even $5,000, but they were amazed when I told them what we wanted to do.”
The home theater means so more than mere entertainment to these men and women who are undergoing long term physical and occupational therapy. “We treat the person rather than the injury,” said Colonel Terrence McKenrick, Commandant of Walter Reed. “These warriors in transition receive physical rehabilitation, occupational therapy, and professional education so they are fully prepared to re-enter society.” The emotional aspect of recovery cannot be underestimated. Colonel McKenerick explains that socialization is vital for emotional health and a complete recovery.
“Before the theater was installed, soldiers would stay in their rooms all day with the doors closed—shut off and withdrawn from life,” recalls Col. McKenrick. “This gets them out of seclusion and reconnected with the outside world.”
The ribbon cutting was a simple celebration. The community room was transformed into a state of the art digital home theater, adorned with banners, flowers, and balloons to mark the special occasion. The more than 40 “warriors in transition,” including five brave soldiers who had recently received their Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars, were overwhelmed by the technology and the donation of Crestron and its partners.
Crestron donated an Adagio® home theater system, CEN-IDOC interface for iPod, TPMC-8X Isys i/O WiFi touchpanel, and a 52” HD plasma. Chris Wildfoerster, director of business development at Crestron, called upon partner companies to contribute to complete the system. “It took just one phone call to each partner,” said Wildfoerster. “Once I explained what we were doing, everyone wanted to help.” LG Electronics, Velodyne, Triad, and Marshall Furniture each contributed to this gift. Jose Rodriguez of Dal-Media and Kevin Busza of ICD Systems donated their time and talents for the system installation and programming.
“We really appreciate the support and kindness that Crestron and their partners have shown us,” said Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Hartless. “This theater makes a huge difference in the lives of our wounded warriors.”
Everyone who participated in and contributed toward the Crestron Eagle Program donation at Walter Reed was inspired by the troops and humbled by the gratitude they expressed. After Vin Bruno, director of marketing at Crestron, presented the Eagles plaque to Colonel McKenrick, Crestron was proud to receive a certificate of appreciation from the Warrior Transition Brigade that read:
For exceptional support and dedication to our wounded, injured and ill warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Your generosity and caring attitude makes a positive impact on many Warrior’s lives. Thank you for your outstanding support!
The next hospital scheduled to receive a home theater center is The Wounded Warriors Battalion East at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC. “I believe that every company in the private sector should do whatever they can to support and honor the men and women who have selflessly sacrificed so much to defend our country,” said Mr. Feldstein.
About Walter Reed
The Walter Reed Army Medical Center is the hub of the Walter Reed Health Care System which provides comprehensive health care for more than 150,000 soldiers, other service members, family members and retirees. It provides a wide range of acute and general hospital services to people of all ages.
The Warrior Transition Brigade provides command and control, primary care, and case management for service members receiving treatment for wounds suffered deployed in the war on terror. The unit works to “promote their timely return to the force or transition to civilian life.”