2010 Regional Volunteers of the Year
USO Volunteer of the Year: Herb Schmeling
USO Puget Sound Area (USO PSA) volunteer, Herb Schmeling continuously gives his all to the USO, putting our nation’s service members first. As one of the center’s most committed volunteers, he regularly gives 60-80 hours a month, and is always available at a moments notice.
Herb eagerly passes on information about USO PSA to the thousands of troops and their families stationed Fort Lewis and Fort McChord Air Force Base. He represents USO PSA at Combined Federal Campaign events and Family Deployment Fairs, making sure the Fort McChord military community is aware of USO PSA’s programs and services. He was also instrumental in successful Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives, helping serve holiday meals to more than 400 military families.
Affectionately called the “Godfather of Fort Lewis,” Herb was honored for his exceptional efforts, being selected as Fort Lewis’ Volunteer of the Year for 2008. He also was featured on the front cover of the FOCUS, Fort Lewis’ monthly magazine. USO PSA is extremely thankful for the commitment and enthusiasm that Herb displays on an ongoing basis. He inspires everyone around him and is an excellent pick for the Stateside Volunteer of the Year!
Europe Volunteer of the Year: Logistics Specialist Seaman May Grace Enjambre
As a single service member living far from her family in the Philippines, May Grace Enjambre knows first hand how difficult it is to be in a new place, separated from loved ones. When she first arrived at her duty station in Naples, it was a bit tough. But like so many of the remarkable men and women serving our country, May decided to use her time to help other troops and their families by volunteering with USO Naples.
Her commitment is exceptional. Even when flights are delayed, she is there to answer questions, offer snacks and help visitor’s email or call home.
May is also the center’s Publicity Coordinator, working with the Armed Forces Network and the local public affairs office to inform the local Naval Support Activities center about the USO and its programs.
When she’s not engaging her colleagues to be recipients of the USO’s good will, she’s recruiting them as volunteers. One way or another, May is determined to get others involved. Despite working two jobs, May gives up her weekends to volunteer with the USO. She’s volunteered more than 600 hours assisting over 4,000 in-transit passengers and 1,000 families during USO events. With young people like May serving in our armed forces, we can rest easier knowing that we are in trusted hands.
Southwest Asia Volunteer of the Year: SSgt. Shaina Newton
Staff Sergeant Shaina Newton is a remarkable service member that truly enjoys supporting fellow troops. When she’s not working 12-hour shifts at her regular duty station, she’s at USO Baghdad, where she averages 64 hours per month, making sure the USO center feels like their “home away from home.”
Along with contributing to USO Baghdad’s daily operational needs, Shaina goes above and beyond her expected duties by checking the schedule for staffing shortages and filling in when needed. She created a revised volunteer database that maps out daily volunteer and visitor trends. This system helps the center predict needs and determine volunteer recruitment goals.
Shaina is constantly coming up with new initiatives to help lift the spirits of her comrades. Most recently she created a program to provide blended ice drinks to the troops—a wonderful morale booster for those living in the sweltering desert heat.
Shaina’s initiative, creativity and dependability are first class. Not only does she bring her wonderful creativity and good nature to our operations, but she has saved USO Baghdad countless hours in tracking and managing volunteers. Shaina Newton’s contributions to the USO are a testament to her exceptional character and we applaud her service to the center and to our nation.
Pacific Volunteer of the Year: Sanae Ogawa
Affectionately known as “Sunny” by her peers and center colleagues, Sanae Ogawa volunteers nearly 90 hours a month to the USO. Her local connections have proved vital persuading local businesses to financially support the USO. Sanae is always ready to assist with center operations and programs, even at a moment’s notice.
She often comes to the center early and leaves late, making sure programs are executed properly. During the Thanksgiving holiday celebration, she volunteered to help serve more than 250 single and unaccompanied sailors. During the annual Cookie Caravan event, she helped bake and distribute more than 4,000 bags of homemade cookies. Sanae also was an integral part of USO Sasebo’s “Christmas Talk With Your Mouth Full” event, arriving at 5:30 a.m. to help set up and feed more than 300 sailors on Christmas morning.
Sanae is well respected by the Sasebo center staff, her fellow volunteers, troops, military and local business leaders. Her positive attitude and her dedication to the USO shine through in all that she does. Whenever help is needed, Sanae is the first to volunteer her time. She continuously demonstrates her commitment to the USO and our men and woen in uniform. We congratulate her on being the Pacific region’s Volunteer of the Year!