New Leisure Center open at Fort Pickett

Fort Pickett's new Leisure Center serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and also feature free wireless internet. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Fort Pickett’s new Leisure Center serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and also features free wireless internet. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Fort Pickett recently opened a new Leisure Center that provides personnel training on post with a friendly environment for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as free wireless internet, and a portion of the sales at the facility come back to the Fort Pickett Morale, Welfare and Recreation fund.

“The hospitality has been great,” said Marine Capt. Joe Hodges, assistant current operations officer for the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based Combat Logistics Battalion 6, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “It is very welcoming environment and easy for us to come here and take a few minutes for ourselves. It is very relaxing.”

The Marines in Hodges’ unit are preparing for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, and spent time at Fort Pickett sharpening their combat skills.

The quality of the food and the atmosphere made the Leisure Center a popular location for the Marines, and Hodges said he appreciated extra touches like the “Devil Dog Plate” menu item that paid tribute to the Marine Corps.

“We are here to boost the morale of troops that train at Fort Pickett,” said Meg Anderson, owner of “In Good Taste,” the company contracted by Fort Pickett to run the Leisure Center. “So far the interaction with the troops has been tremendous, and we are all really glad to be here.”

Anderson said the special menu items like the “Devil Dog Plate” are created by the units themselves or other individuals training at Pickett when they visit the center. “We strive to give the troops a ‘touch of home’ when they visit the Leisure Center,” she said. She also said her staff can deliver food out to the field when the unit makes coordination ahead of time.

The center also offers satellite TV, two pools tables and other games for their entertainment, she said.

“The Leisure Center provides Soldiers training on Fort Pickett a location to relax as their schedule permits,” said Col. Bill Korsen, Fort Pickett garrison commander. “It is the only retail food operation on the installation, and we plan to build our other Soldier MWR service around this location.”

The addition of the Leisure Center is another step in the ongoing improvements taking place at Fort Pickett to provide more and better facilities on post, explained Lt. Col. Shawn Kerrigan, deputy garrison commander. Funds from the center will help fund improvement in other facilities, including the fitness center.

Kerrigan explained that gym has seen a number of improvements including replacing old 1990s-era Nautilus equipment with cable system machines, adding new benches, barbells, dumbells and free weights as well as new cardio equipment and a room dedicated for circuit training. The weight room and cardio room have also recently received a fresh coat of paint.

The Leisure Center is open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. These hours are subject to change and have changed according to the needs of the troops’ missions, and you can call the Leisure Center at 434-292-2523. It is located in Building 2403 near the Fort Pickett Theater.

The Fitness Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 1 to 9 p.m. and closed on Sundays. You can call the Fitness Center at 434-292-8626.