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Missouri National Guard unveils new resiliency center

The Missouri National Guard cut the ribbon Saturday to unveil its new resiliency center and chapel.

Leaders believe soldiers require different strengths on their journeys and wanted to build a place where soldiers and airmen could reflect on that strength.

“We need to win the fight inside before we go out and do things, and when you’re right with the Lord and know what your purpose is in life and you know you are called to do something that other people don’t do,” said senior Army chaplain Gary Gilmore. “Then you walk out of that building and you go out and change the world.”

When officials realized they needed a new space for programs in 2010, there was no funding available to build the center, so the Guard created a foundation and raised the money entirely through private donations.

Groups such as the Ameren Corporation and Veteran’s United provided much of the funding for the project, as well as many individuals.

According to Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, every penny of the donations has gone into the program for the past five years.

The Guard has programs and services available to soldiers and their families, but they have never been consolidated in one place.

Danner said he wanted somewhere unique for soldiers to find support and refuge.

“I was just determined that we provide a proper venue for those of us who provide the services,” he said. “Our Patriot Center actually provides the services, and our chaplaincy and our mental health specialists that we have – that they had a proper facility to work out of.”

The chapel and center is built on a hill and overlooks the Guard’s facilities, as well as the Missouri River.

Gilmore said with a view like that and a separate center to reflect, he thinks soldiers and airmen can find a place of peace.

“What I hope is that will be a signature building for us looking up and seeing Missouri as a whole and knowing that we have a part in making that happen,” he said. “It takes our strength and resilience to do a good job at that.”

Danner said he hopes the center can be a resource for soldiers and airmen for many years to come.

“I think this will be a facility that will be here long after those that were here today are gone,” he said. “Hopefully it is a facility that will help people who will never know the names of the benefactors and contributors here but will benefit from the work and the effort that they put in.”

The chapel is already reserved for a wedding in October. This will be the first wedding the Guard has had at its headquarters.

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