Your USO at Work: The Newsletter of the USO (May 2011)
(Issue 14, May 2011)
USO Receives Historic Donation
As the lead donor, the Northrop Grumman Foundation is donating $5 million for the new Wounded Warrior and Family Center on the grounds of Fort Belvoir, Virginia. This is the largest single gift to the USO in its 70-year history.
Operated by USO of Metropolitan Washington, the new center, a 25,000 square foot facility, will support wounded warriors at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and the Warrior Transition Unit.
“The USO is humbled by the generous gift the great folks at the Northrop Grumman Foundation have pledged to wounded warriors through Operation Enduring Care,” said Sloan Gibson, USO president. “There are more than 40,000 troops wounded in war and America’s wounded warriors are on the path to rebuilding their bodies and their lives. This reality drives the USO and we are immensely grateful to the
Northrop Grumman Foundation for energetically engaging with us as partners on behalf of wounded warriors.”
Northrop Grumman officials said the gift is an extension of the company’s gratitude to the military.
“For more than 20 years, Northrop Grumman and its employees have partnered with the USO to serve our nation’s military, veterans, and their families,” said Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman chief executive officer and president. By supporting the USO, we show our appreciation for and express our gratitude to the men and women who defend us.”
Turner Helps Build Future for Wounded
As a dedicated friend of America’s troops and their families, Turner Construction Company has partnered with the USO to build a new Wounded Warrior and Family Center on the grounds of Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The company is not only the general contractor for the project, but also a major donor.
“We’re excited to have Turner Construction as a partner on this immensely important project,” said Sloan Gibson, USO president. “With Turner as a partner, and with the support of the company’s subcontractors and other Americans, we will have a positive impact on the life of every wounded warrior who passes through this center as well as their families.”
Turner’s major commitment includes a combination of gifts in-kind, financial resources, and the undertaking of a significant fundraising effort to benefit the Fort Belvoir project.
“We are proud to be a part of the new center to benefit U.S. military personnel and their families,” said Christian Jahrling, Vice President and General Manager of Turner Federal Services.
USO Opens Second Fort Hood Location
Soldiers training at Fort Hood, Texas, have a permanent home away from home after the USO opened its second location on the Army installation.
The new permanent center, two years in the making, opened its doors to soldiers with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 16. Prior to the ceremony, the USO provided services to the soldiers of North Fort Hood with a mobile canteen.
Like many USO locations, the North Fort Hood location offers snacks, video games, movies, and pool tables.
Kuwait-America Foundation Offers Enduring Support
The Kuwait-America Foundation recently hosted its 2011 Gala Dinner, which benefitted the USO’s Operation Enduring Care campaign.
“Since 1941, the USO has provided a ‘home away from home’ for America’s military members and their families around the world,” Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States said in a letter to those who attended the gala. “Your generosity will help wounded warriors find dignity, healing, and hope through the design and creation of two new, state-of-the-art USO centers, one at the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda [Maryland] and one at Fort Belvoir [Virginia].
“These flagship centers are at the heart of Operation Enduring Care, the USO’s comprehensive initiative to support injured warriors and their loved ones,” he added.
The event, which raised $2.2 million for Operation Enduring Care, hosted high profile guests like former President Bill Clinton and actor Ben Affleck. Michael Bolton provided the musical program.
Joining Forces for Military Families
The USO recently announced its support of Joining Forces, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s initiative to strengthen military families nationwide. The USO joins the White House and the ranks of citizens, communities, businesses, nonprofits, faith-based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government to lead the effort to strengthen military support in local communities and educate Americans about the challenges and sacrifices our troops and families face.
“For 70 years, the USO has been hard at work lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families serving around the world,” said Sloan Gibson, USO president. “We’re delighted to support the Joining Forces initiative and continue to educate Americans about the key issues facing military families -- education, employment, and wellness. The USO applauds the White House and encourages all Americans to take actionand make a meaningful difference for our military families.”
In conjunction with the Joining Forces initiative, Obama and Biden kicked off the fifth installment of The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families at an April 14 community event in Columbus, Ohio.
Shirley McGann had big, well-loved shoes to fill when she was hired as center manager at the USO’s SeaTac International Airport Center, in Seattle, Washington, but she’s off and running.
“Shirley came to [USO Puget Sound Area] to fill the shoes of a center manager who was renowned here at SeaTac for over 10 years,” said Donald Leingang, executive director of USO Puget Sound Area. “She has done a great job and when tested by the number of Americans voluntarily evacuated from Japan, passed with superior results!”
The skills to handle the evacuees with grace may have been honed while working as a client contact specialist for First Command Financial Planning. She’s also held several civilian jobs with the military, and conducted pharmaceutical research.
“Friends who volunteer for USOPSA strongly suggested I apply for the center manager opening,” she said. “They felt it was a perfect match for my personality and skill set.”
McGann, who started in December, said her favorite part of the job is something most people don’t give a second thought.
“Our visitor log … contains many notes of thanks,” she said. “If anyone wants to know what the USO is all about, they can read any page and see how much our guests appreciate our center and staff.”
Raleigh-Durham Center Moves Into New Home
On March 15, USO of North Carolina celebrated the grand opening of its new center in the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The center, which has existed since 2004, moved from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2, where the majority of military personnel, veterans, and their families arrive or depart.
In addition to offering more space, the new facility has a dedicated playroom for young children, and features a “Reading Room” where parents can record themselves reading to their children as part of United Through Reading®’s Military Program which is hosted at select USO locations.
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Upcoming Events * May is Military Appreciation Month * May 6, 1941: Bob Hope’s first USO show was held at March Field Air Base in California * May 6: Military Spouse Appreciation Day * May 8: Mother’s Day * May 16-21: Warrior Games, Colorado Springs, Colorado * May 21: Armed Forces Day * May 30: Memorial Day.