On November 17, 2022, key members of federal, state and local communities conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Kuhn Hall Education and Resiliency Center at Fort George G. Meade, Md. 1st Row (L-R) U.S. Congressman John P. Sarbanes; MG Allan M. Pepin, Commanding General, U.S. Army Military District of Washington and Joint Task Force-National Capital Region; Deon Viergutz, President, Fort Meade Alliance Foundation; Ms. Yvette K. Bourcicot, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower & Reserve Affairs; COL Michael A. Sapp, Garrison Commander, Fort George G. Meade; Top Row (L-R) CSM Franklin Velez, U.S. Army MDW and JTF-NCR; Tim Battle, Chief, Education Services, FGGM; Joe Pacileo, President, Fort Meade Alliance; Senator Pamela Beidle, District 32; Wes Smith, Director, Human Resources, FGGM; CSM Andre L. Welch, Garrison Command Sergeant Major. (Photo by Chuck Yang)
Fort Meade community partners celebrate opening of new education and resiliency center
By Jasmyne Ferber, Fort Meade Public Affairs
FORT MEADE, Md. – Fort George G. Meade and its community partners held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 17, for the fort’s new Education and Resiliency Center.
Named after the fort’s first commander, Maj. Gen. Joseph Kuhn, FGGM Kuhn Hall Education and Resiliency Center opened its doors to the community on November 18, and will provide services to over 64,000 service members, Department of Defense civilians, retirees, and veterans who work on the installation and 11,000 people who reside here.
“The Army’s people are its greatest strength and today illustrates another great example of an important investment in our servicemembers and their families,” Maj. Gen. Allan M. Pepin, commanding general of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and Joint Task Force-National Capital Region, said during his opening remarks. “As we open the doors of Kuhn Hall, we must acknowledge the extensive amount of hard work and teamwork that brought us here today.”
Kuhn Hall provides onsite classes, wellness programs and mental health and guidance counseling to the community. The idea to renovate the center was born when a partnership between Fort Meade Garrison, the Fort Meade Alliance and the Fort Meade Alliance Foundation formed in 2011.
To fund the renovation, FMA and FMAF raised $5.1M in donations and garnered support from key individuals like Maryland State Senator Pamela Beidle to gain final approval for the project from the Secretary of the Army.
“It is a surreal moment as we cut the ribbon on a facility that will serve countless,” Deon Viergutz, president of the FMAF, said. “The opening of Kuhn Hall is more than a building, it’s a philosophy. It’s a commitment and it’s a promise.”
Fort Meade Garrison Commander Col. Michael A. Sapp stated the renovation of the building would not have come to fruition without “the vision, cooperation, and selflessness of those who saw the need and took action to address it.”
“That vision started over 10 years ago with the understanding that true resilience comes from personal growth and interpersonal connections facilitated by a community gathering space,” Sapp said.
Delivering on the five pillars of resiliency – family, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social – Kuhn Hall’s reach will extend beyond the installation through FMA-funded resiliency services kiosks, a one-stop way to find services associated with resiliency at the fort and in the surrounding community.
“Any student of warfare recognizes how essential is the will to fight in order to secure victory. The will to fight is forged from training, education, experience, and community support,” Col. (Ret) Tom Rickard, former Fort Meade Garrison Commander, stated in a letter. “Kuhn Hall helps us build the will. It is hard to express just how much this center means to me. It means you want us to win, and that means everything.”
Yvette Bourcicot, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, believes the work that will be done at Kuhn Hall is “fundamental to the success of our Army.”
“Simply put, a strong, healthy and resilient trained force is the most important indicator of our readiness,” Bourcicot said during her keynote address. “By focusing on first class programs that provide continued care and resources for Soldiers, civilians and their families, the center will help ensure the U.S. Army is ready to fight and win our nation’s wars.”
Others who attended the celebratory event included U.S. Congressman John Sarbanes, Senator Pamela Beidle, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, and several state delegates.
“This really is a labor of love,” Sarbanes said. “This center is poised to have an incredible, positive impact on the Fort Meade community.”
Jasmyne Ferber, Fort Meade Public Affairs