Red Shield re-opens in Anaheim

Center gets a new look and a new name.

by Kevin White –

Pictured at the recent grand opening are (l-r): Wanda Castillo-Cou, Orange County advisory board chair; Major Lee Lescano, Dick Schmid, Patty Schmid, Lt. Colonel Rose-Marie Leslie and Lt. Colonel Victor Leslie. [Photo by John Brackenbury]

After extensive renovation and some generous donations, the Anaheim (Calif.) Red Shield re-opened on February 20 with a brand new look and a brand new name. Now known as the Schmid Family Red Shield Community Center, the facility has experienced a complete makeover that includes many new program areas in addition to the physical improvements.

The opening was a grand celebration complete with inflatable jumpers, balloons, food and tours of the center. After a prayer of re-dedication by Lt. Colonel Victor Leslie, Southern California divisional commander, both Dick and Patty Schmid—whose family provided significant funding toward this project—cut the ribbon. Special guests included the Schmid family, Lt. Colonels Victor and Rose-Marie Leslie, Major John Reed (divisional secretary for business), Majors Lee and Michele Lescano (Orange County leaders), the Orange County Advisory Board, and other county support staff. The Anaheim City School District Superintendant, Jose L. Banda, also attended. Over 700 community members and guests made their way through the facility during the four-hour event.

The center now features a brand new Education and Computer Lab (donated by Tallya Geiger), large game and craft rooms and a fitness center, as well as many other program specific areas. Donated funds were utilized to fill these areas with new equipment and furnishings. One of the most popular rooms at the grand opening—the “tumble room”—is a converted racquetball court that has been refinished and stocked with various types of colorful gymnastic mats, tunnels and climbing pieces.

According to Jodi Gonzalez, the center’s program director, the renovation was a process of repair and re-focus. “We needed to address the physical needs of the building, but we also wanted to better utilize the space that was available for programming. It has been a long process and we are really looking forward to opening these doors and serving this community once again.”

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