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Barry Robinson Center honors its own military heritage

Oceana's captain did the honors, cutting the ribbon on the new Barry Robinson Center military courtyard.

The idea is to salute the branches of military service.

It makes sense, because, of the 55 children currently enrolled at the non-profit, faith-based, residential behavior health treatment center, 47 have some military-related family connection.

"The family values we're certainly reflected in the way they taught us, what they tried to teach us," said Brandon Spence, Class of '74 graduate. "It was a wonderful place, got a great education, met some wonderful folks."

They call themselves the "Barry Boys." The alumni talked about what the center meant to them.

"When you get here, you learned what it was really all about, and you didn't really appreciate it until you were gone, you really understood what you had gotten," said Greg Matthews, Class of '77.

"It's fantastic," said Scott Flynn, Class of '76. " I got into sports, soccer, and it really motivated me a lot."

David Kight , Class of '76 said: "It was great. I loved this place. It was, you're going to learn this today. I would have gone to Maury and flunked out of high school. It was great. I loved this place."

Dave Maltby, Class of '65 feels the same way. "And I had a wonderful time here and I don't regret one day of it," he said.

Mike Forbes, Class of '74 concurred. "It's just great people, they truly care about what they're doing," he said, adding, "I wouldn't change a thing."

School and community leaders say, it's a formula that works.

"Well I think if I was going to distil it into just three words, it would be faith, hope and love," said Chuck McPhillips, chairman of the Barry Robinson Center Trust.

State Delegate Joe Lindsey is impressed. "I absolutely love it because I know people that have transitioned through the program and who are doing quite well in society.," he said.

And there's still an on-going effort to pay for much needed capital improvements to many of the buildings at this 83 year old facility, so that they can keep doing what they've always done, improving the lives of children.