BRAGGS, Oklahoma – Service members and their families will have a new spiritual center at Camp Gruber. Officials broke ground Wednesday on an interfaith sanctuary called Thunderbird Chapel.
The project is expected to take about six months to complete – just in time for the return of Oklahoma's hard hit 45th Infantry from Afghanistan.
The traditionally-built chapel will accommodate up to 200 soldiers for services, seminars and other gatherings. The building will be set back in a wooded area that will be easy to reach but quiet and serene, according to a release from the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma.
Funding is being provided solely by private citizens, the release states. Organizers are working to raise more than $500,000 to pay for construction costs.
"We owe our soldiers an immense debt of gratitude for their sacrifice and service," Governor Mary Fallin said at the groundbreaking ceremony on September 7, 2011.
Volunteers plan to begin a 16-day barn raising at the end of October to see the structure completed, allowing time for landscaping, sidewalks and interior finish work.
For more information on the project and to learn how you can help, go to http://www.campgruberchapel.org/.