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Opening of new trauma center celebrated at Camp Lejeune

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Wounded Marines have a new place to get treatment for injuries sustained in the line of duty.

On Wednesday military leaders and dignitaries celebrated the opening of an $11 million trauma center at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

The Intrepid Spirit Center provides physical, mental, and spiritual help for those with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Lance Corporal Kyle Jastren, a Camp Lejeune Marine, is one of the 158 Marines who has been treated at the center since it opened in August.

Jastren says he used to enjoy his hobbies—running and mountain biking--but ever since his traumatic brain injury in December 2012, things haven't been the same.

"To be completely honest with you, it destroyed my life. You know, divorce, work issues…" he said.

During a training mission at Camp Lejeune, a car struck Jastren's convoy, throwing him out of the vehicle and injuring his head.

"There are so many things that you're hindered and not able to do or not able to do at the standard you used to be able to do them," said Jastren.

Jastren says the treatment center is giving him hope for a normal life.

"You need this at every major base, so when they come back to their unit, to their families and that's where you need the help them right away, before you get the point where they shoot themselves," said  Arnold Fisher, the honorary chairman of Intrepid Spirit Heroes Fund, the nonprofit that built the facility through donations.

"My speech pathologist, she goes above and beyond what she has to do for me," said Jastren.

Jastren says his progress has soared.

"Without this center, I don't think I would be even close to the point that I'm at," he said.

The treatment center at Camp Lejeune is the second of nine facilities the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is planning to open nationwide.  The third one will be at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Another is planned for Fort Bragg in Fayetteville.

The Department of Veterans Affairs says up to 20 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD.

Lejeune officials say the new facility offers a wider array of services and treatment options for PTSD and TBI than the naval hospital on base.

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