Army Strong Center opens in Coraopolis
By Staff Sgt. Ivyann Castillo, 171st Public Affairs
/ Published October 03, 2010
Sept. 18, 2010 -- CORAOPOLIS, Pa. -- The grand opening ceremony of the Army Strong Community Center, a facility that provides support and resources to military members and their families as well as veterans, opened on Sept. 18 at McGarity U.S. Army Reserve Center here.
The ASCC was created by Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz Jr., chief, Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command as well as his wife, Laura. Their goal was to have a resource center that focuses on military members in all service branches who are not geographically located near an active duty installation. The center provides resources such as employment services, referrals, child and youth programs and other information geared on assisting the military community.
"The center is like a satellite version of the military personnel flight that provides services such as I.D. cards, personnel records or educational information for military members and our retirees," said Col. Steven Painter, vice commander, 171 Air Refueling Wing. "There are thousands of us that live in the local area, and the nearest active duty installation is at least three hours away; technically it's a 'Military' Strong Community Center."
The ceremony began with multi-service honor guard posting the colors. The significant part of the event was the covenant signing between civic leaders and military commanders from the local military installations such as the 171 ARW, 911th Airlift Wing, U.S. Navy Operational Support Center, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit, United States Marine Corps, Military Police Company B and the U.S. Army Reserve, 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Civic leaders included executives from Allegheny County, Moon Township, Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, Chairman Board of Directors, Veterans Leadership Program, Pittsburgh Council, Boy Scouts of America and the American Red Cross.
"This was a special part of the event," said. Painter. "All of us who participated in signing this covenant gave our solemn oath that we would support the services of the ASCC and provide any assistance needed."
The covenant will be hung in the center for visitors look at.
The guest speaker for the event was, Rocky Bleier an NFL player and an Army soldier. He was drafted late by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968 and in the same year drafted into the U.S. Army to serve in the Vietnam War. After being severely wounded during an ambush at Heip Duc in 1969, he returned to the Steelers on injury reserve where doubts arose about his performance until he made the active roster in 1972. In 1976 Bleier along with fellow running back Franco Harris, earned 1,000 yards. Then in 1974 Bleier scored the "go-ahead" touch down in Super XIII. He retired in 1980 and started Robert Bleier Inc.
The community center in Coraopolis is the third facility to open in the United States. The first one opened in Rochester, New York and the second one is located in Brevard, North Carolina.
Some distinguished guests that attended the event were, Gen. Stultz and his wife, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, mayor of Pittsburgh and Congressman Tim Murphy.
The ASCC is open Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays during the Army Reserve drill weekend. The facility is located at 99 Soldiers Lane at the U.S. Army Reserve Base in Coraopolis. For more information contact Lisa Ellek at 412-507-3413 or Richard Cessar at 412-604-8153.