From left, Navy Capt. Cynthia Judy, Belvoir Hospital director; Maj. Gen. Omar J. Jones IV, commanding general of Joint Forces Headquarters-National Capital Region; Nicole Leth, Armed Forces Wellness Center director; and Col. Josh SeGraves, Belvoir Garrison commander, cut a ribbon, opening the Armed Forces Wellness Center on Fort Belvoir. The Belvoir center is the 35th Wellness Center and is in Bldg. 1155, at 5981 13th St.
By Margaret Steele, Fort Belvoir Public Affairs
Tuesday morning saw the ribbon-cutting of the Armed Forces Wellness Center on Fort Belvoir, showing a continued adaptation to the overall fitness needs of the whole, military community.
Nicole Leth, Wellness Center director, said, “It’s important in the naming in that it’s ‘joint,’ in nature, because we’re in the National Capital area, with warfighters from each branch of service.”
“We’ve already seen significant changes, with more Service members passing their physical fitness assessments; and families and retires who’ve changed their life, and their quality of life, with our services,” Leth said.
She also suggested senior leaders from all branches see, firsthand, the impact the facility can have on readiness and the warfighter’s lethality.
“It can be very powerful for them to see the potential changes in people,” she said.
Maj. Gen. Omar J. Jones IV, commanding general of Joint Forces Headquarters-National Capital Region, was guest speaker at the official opening.
“This is a big step forward in how we take care of our people,” Jones said. He lauded the teamwork needed to make the opening happen, including the Army Public Health Center, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and Belvoir Garrison.
“This opening is all about how we invest in our people and their health and wellness,” he said. “Providing targeted, holistic, health and fitness, ensures the wellbeing of our people.”
He also highlighted the timeliness of the wellness center’s opening. “It’s not lost on me, as we come out of the pandemic, that readiness, resilience and fitness are perishable and can be fleeting, and many of us have witnessed that.
“This is a valuable community resource, especially as we all get moving again and take strides to regain and become more fit, and regain that resilience that has been challenged,” Jones said. “This center will have a marked, positive impact on the mental and physical health of our people.”
Ironically, Jones said he used the same Belvoir building 20 years ago, as a captain, when he was buying BDUs at the former Clothing and Sales store, there.
After the ribbon-cutting, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston said he’s already a user of the Wellness Center’s services and is familiar with them.
“This allows everyone to become more physically fit and mentally prepared,” Grinston said. “This is beneficial for everyone who’s trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Leth, who started out as a client of a Fort Carson, Colo., wellness center in 2014, said the center is the region’s community-readiness platform.
“Along with our community partners, we support the readiness mission as one team. We support the warfighter to be the best versions of themselves, physically and mentally, so they’re ready to accomplish the mission at a moment’s notice,” she said. “We help them overcome barriers and are passionate about that mission, while we want the center to be a place of inspiration, invigoration, rejuvenation and respite.”
Col. Josh SeGraves, Belvoir Garrison commander, lauded Leth’s diligence and perseverance in establishing the Wellness Center.
“Four years ago and three garrison commanders ago, the seed was planted at Fort Belvoir for this spectacular, new, modern space we have,” he said. “And, being able to see it come to life has been very rewarding for me, as garrison commander.
“We couldn’t be more proud that the newest Wellness Center is here,
and, although Fort Belvoir is ‘Army’ in name, we certainly have a joint work force and customer support base. In fact, more than 77 percent are ‘joint,’ on this base.”
SeGraves added he looks forward to the Wellness Center’s part in making us, collectively, more resilient; and stronger and smarter about health, fitness and prevention.
“The overall wellbeing this center will provide is absolutely phenomenal … and is a critical resource, not only to Service members, but families, civilians and retirees, who are all part of our people-first strategy,” he said.
“To be quite honest, we’re really lucky to have this new amenity for our continued health and prevention, … to help us manage and combat our daily stressors; and inform us about nutrition and sleep … all part of readiness.
“The benefits of this Wellness Center will last now and short-term, but in the long-term, as well,” SeGraves said.