SIERRA VISTA — Fort Huachuca formalized its agreement with Lori’s Place last week regarding soldiers and their families seeking help at the facility if they’ve been a victim of sexual assault or abuse, officials said.
While the memorandum of understanding signed between the two entities does not mention children, Lori’s Place Director Anne Thrush said minors who live on post could be brought to the center if they are victimized in any way.
Thrush, who became director of Lori’s Place — officially known as the Cochise Family Advocacy Center — in late April, said the installation’s Commanding Gen. Tony Hale and Command Sgt. Maj. Warren Robinson, among others, visited Lori’s Place last week so they could see the facility and learn about the services offered for victims of sexual assault and abuse.
Soldiers and family members on Fort Huachuca who have been victims of sexual assault or abuse have been going to Lori’s Place for treatment for a while now, said Thrush and Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton, but the tour and the signing of the memorandum of understanding simply confirmed and formalized the agreement.
“The general was really pleased with the center,” Thrush said of the tour. “He mentioned that it’s a terrible thing to have to have such a place, but he said he is grateful that this service is here.”
While there is a large health facility on Fort Huachuca — Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center — it’s not a hospital and it’s not equipped to provide testing and counseling for rape and abuse victims, Thrush and Linton said.
Prior to sending victims to Lori’s Place, assault victims from the installation were transported to Tucson for help, Hale said in an email to the Herald/Review.
“This service is crucial to our efforts to hold offenders accountable,” Hale said in his email. “We are excited about this partnership.
“Lori’s Place has an amazing facility and we are happy that our soldiers and family member victims can begin their healing journey in Sierra Vista.”
Linton said giving soldiers and their families the ability to get help in the same community where the installation is locate, is crucial during a trying time.
“That way it’s a lot less traumatizing,” Linton said.
The agreement between Fort Huachuca and Lori’s Place also creates a stronger bond between the post and the nonprofit, Linton said.
“It allows the team here to build a relationship because of our proximity to Lori’s Place,” Linton said.
Thrush agreed: “This is a movement in the right direction to be able to provide the community — which includes Fort Huachuca — with the services that it requires.”