New Camp Gruber Chapel To Honor Oklahoma's 45th Infantry - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

New Camp Gruber Chapel To Honor Oklahoma's 45th Infantry

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BRAGGS, Oklahoma -

Volunteers are doing something extraordinary to let our returning soldiers know how much they are appreciated.

News On 6 has been following the construction of a new chapel at Camp Gruber for several months.

You'll want to see how things look now.

Gerry Shepherd is going over the game plan like a head football coach in the fourth quarter.

On April 25th, the new chapel at camp Gruber, which is intended to honor the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade, has to be finished.

"Over $2.2 million project done in less than six months, my goodness," project coordinator Gerry Shepherd said.

Even with work yet to do, you can easily envision how remarkable the new chapel at Camp Gruber is going to be.

The first wall went up in October, and the mission to honor Oklahoma soldiers is almost finished.

"It's probably the most fulfilling thing that I've ever been involved with," Shepherd said.

What makes this project even more special is it is exclusively funded through private donations of skilled labor, equipment and money.

Nearly 500 volunteers are working to make it happen.

"I'm very proud of the gift that we're giving to the soldiers," Shepherd said. "I think it's what they deserve for what they and their families have given us."

Shepherd expected Oklahomans to step up to help and wasn't disappointed for even a second.

"It should be an inspiration to every other state to see what we've done for our soldiers," Shepherd said.

Not just Oklahomans are helping.

Marlin Dettinger, an electrician, came 1,300 miles from Central Florida to lend a hand.

"I actually had a nephew killed in Afghanistan, and when Gerry called, it was no questions asked," Dettinger.

The chapel is 10,500-square feet, will have pews for more than 200 people, and includes a multi-purpose room.

One of the most important things about the new chapel is there will be offices for three chaplains so returning soldiers can get the spiritual and emotional support they need."

That project started with a dream and happened because of hard work and heart.

"I wish every state would do this for their soldiers," Dettinger said.

Shepherd: "I expected this is what would happen from Oklahomans, and it has."

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