Allow Retirees into Griffiss Fitness Center

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Purple Heart Recipient and Retired Vet Denied Entry into Griffiss Gym.


Does the city of Rome, NY care about its military retirees? If they do, they will sign this petition to better their lives and give them a positive boost in their recoveries.

My name is Laura Noble, and my husband was medically retired from the Army at 12 years with a traumatic brain injury due to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007. He is a Purple Heart recipient and completed five tours of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He requires physical and occupational therapy due to his orthopedic and head injuries sustained in theater.
We returned to Rome, NY, to begin the next chapter in our lives with our family and friends. We love this area. We love this city.
What we don't love is the treatment of our retirees at the Fitness facility, "The Coluseueem", at Griffiss Air Force Base.
Retirees not allowed, we were told. How could this be? Only active duty, DFAS, and Research Labs allowed entry.
I cannot understand how soldier can dedicate his entire life to his country, deploy, shed blood, be left with an entire lifetime of debilitating injuries, but can't use the countless facilities at the gym.
I understand the issue comes down to 'funding', and where this money comes from. I refuse to accept this answer.
I wonder if every tax-paying citizen in the state knows what kind of facility this indeed is, and if they know that only a select few can use it. I am speaking of rooms full of top-of-the-line gym equipment, weight machines, saunas, racquetball courts, indoor track, rock wall, basketball court, golf simulator, batting cage, crossfit room, yoga/meditation room, and many other amenities too numerous to list. A 68 thousand square-foot facility. Truly one of the top fitness centers in the state. Rome's best-kept secret, indeed. Most people in this city don't even know where the gym is, let alone know the treasures inside.
Why are we sinking millions into a facility that sits nearly empty everyday? When we say we value our retirees, do we really? Every base gym in this country allows retirees. Not here, though. That is a disgrace.
My husband has 5 deployments, a Purple Heart, and 12 years of dedicated service. A disabled vet. A phrase that should evoke gratitude. There are others like him in this city who should be allowed the basic right to use a facility that will help them in their recoveries.
Twenty percent of our veterans face substance abuse problems as a result of fighting for our country. How about giving them more opportunities for a positive use of their free time? With the costs of healthcare and prescriptions, if the gym provided even a few retirees in the area with a positive outlet and improved their overall mental and physical health, it would offset a fair amount of the costs to run it. It is really such a small price to pay in the overall scheme of things.
My husband--and many others like him, would most definitely benefit from the facilities. His therapy requires machines that are simply not available anywhere else, and yet they refuse him entry while the gym sits nearly empty everyday. They sink tens of thousands of dollars into adding equipment like golf simulators and brand new flat screen televisions, while telling us that there is no money for retirees. This is unacceptable.
I refuse to sit idly by and accept an excuse like 'funding' be the answer to why this is.
Is this how we treat our disabled retirees? Rome is a good city full of good people. I know once they see that this matter is bigger than "just a gym", they will stand up and do the right thing. Don't push this issue under the rug yet again. Please help me by signing this petition and showing our local representatives that this issue is important. It is essential. Tell them our retirees deserve better. Thank you.



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