Your USO at Work: The Newsletter of the USO (June 2011)
(Issue 15, June 2011)
Groundbreaking Kicks Off $100 Million Initiative
On June 27, the USO broke ground on the first of two Wounded Warrior and Family Centers being built at Fort Belvoir, Va., and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
This groundbreaking at Fort Belvoir marked the start of the public phase of Operation Enduring Care, a $100 million initiative to support the Centers’ construction, endow the Centers’ operations and fund wounded warrior programs throughout the country.
“Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!”
John Falkenbury, president of USO North Carolina, joined Marine Master Sergeant William “Spanky” Gibson at the 52nd annual NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, to get the race underway on May 29.
In May 2006, Gibson lost his left leg in a sniper attack while serving on the front lines in Iraq. “Paying tribute to America’s military has become part of the Memorial Day weekend tradition as thousands of fans gather for the Coca- Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway,” said Ben Reiling, Director, Sports Marketing, Coca-Cola North America.
“By recognizing a true hero like Master Sergeant William “Spanky” Gibson, Coca-Cola is inviting racing fans everywhere to join together in celebrating all of America’s dedicated service members.”
Support Troops with a “Taste of Home”
Taste of Home magazine is providing a simple way for Americans to thank troops and their families this summer.
For each unique visitor who clicks on their new Flag Cake recipe on the magazine’s website, www.tasteofhome.com/uso, Taste of Home will pledge 10 cents to the USO, to a maximum of $100,000.
“We are so proud to be able to support our military and their families through the USO,” said Catherine Cassidy, vice president and editor-in-chief of Taste of Home magazine. “Many of [our readers] come from military families and understand first-hand the impact that saying thank you has.”
Hollywood Knights Tour Italy
A celebrity basketball team known as the Hollywood Knights recently hit the courts at five military stations in Italy during a USO tour to lift the spirits of troops and families stationed there.
Among those participating included actors Nicolas Braun, Ryan Eggold, Hill Harper, Josh Henderson, Robbie Jones, Gilles Marini, Jesse Metcalfe, Omar Benson Miller, and Jeremy Sumpter.
This is the first USO tour for the Hollywood Knights with the exception of Henderson who visited troops and their families at Beale Air Force Base in April 2010.
Hager Goes Home
As an Air Force brat, Tami Hager lived in Korea for 10 years before coming back to the States to attend Western Michigan University where she received both a bachelors and masters degree in organizational communications.
After graduation, she went to work for the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a claims representative for six years.
Though she had moved back and forth between Korea and the States growing up, when her father retired, her parents didn’t hesitate about where to spend their retirement.
“My mom is Korean and after my dad retired, they decided to live in Korea permanently,” Hager said. “Korea is home for our family.”
In 2007, Hager was visiting her parents and actually drove to Camp Kim, part of the United State’s Yongsan Garrison, résumé in hand, hoping to interview for the USO’s Programs and Marketing Director position. Unfortunately, the interviews were taking place the day she was headed back to the States.
Two years later, however, things turned out much differently. A quick look on the USO website revealed an open position.
“At that time, I wasn’t even thinking about moving to Korea, but when I saw the opportunity, I jumped on it,” she said. “I gave up my position at the SSA, got rid of all my things, packed up and moved to Korea after being away for 13 years.” And she hasn’t looked back. “I love my job and the USO mission,” Hager said. “It seems that I am constantly doing something different and have never had time to be bored.”
Some of that time is spent helping provide free programs for the military and their families. She loves how appreciative they are that the USO can make their day a little better, she said.
“I think when I’m old and retired, I would consider volunteering with the USO,” Hager said. “I truly feel that I was meant to work for the USO as everything had happened for a reason.”
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Upcoming Events * June 20-26: Marine Week St. Louis * June 21: Summer officially begins * June 25, 1950: Beginning of Korean War * June 25-July 4: Navy Week Chicago * July 4: Independence Day * July 20, 1969: Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon * July 27, 1953: Korean War ends.