The services military families need most are now in located in a brand new, spacious building on Fort Sam Houston with the opening of the Soldier and Family Assistance Center Friday.
Retired Master Sgt. Todd Nelson knows the benefit of the center well.
In August 2007, he was critically injured by a suicide bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan. He woke up at Ft. Sam Houston disoriented and unaware of the incredibly tough road ahead.
“Shrapnel went through my sinus cavity, sheered my jawbone and fractured my forehead,” said Nelson.
The blast also left him with severe burns when his helmet melted onto his head.
Nelson’s recovery took three years and more than 40 surgeries. But that recovery would not have been possible without the SFAC, he says, because his life-altering injuries left him unprepared for the future.
“They know what you don’t know,” Nelson said. “So when you build a friendship with them and they get to know you as an individual, they really dig in deep to help."
The center used to be located in tight quarters in the basement of the San Antonio Military Medical Center on post. The new location just across from the hospital boasts wide open office spaces, a computer lab, classrooms and child care.
It is essentially a one-stop shop for military families where they can get help with everything from benefits and legal advice to continuing education. And the services are offered to all military personnel, not just soldiers.
Through the SFAC, Nelson was able to get compensation for his medical bills, earn two degrees and even ensure that he would be able to fund college educations for his two daughters.
He says this new center will be crucial to the soldiers who come after him.
“They’ve given everything to us,” he said, “and we should give everything back to them.”
The center is open for business on Monday.