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Congress Helps Stuff USO Care Packages for Female Troops

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On Capitol Hill yesterday, more than a dozen members of Congress attended the USO Care Package for Women Stuffing Party in the first floor foyer of the Rayburn House, where 2,000 specially-designed female care packages were filled.

In total, 18 members of Congress attended the three-hour event, including many members of the USO Congressional Caucus. These members joined USO leadership, leadership from USO corporate sponsors, USO volunteers and other staffers from congressional offices around the Hill to bring “a little bit of home” to female troops overseas.

Congress has participated in the bi-annual USO Care Package Stuffing Party for seven consecutive years since the USO Congressional Caucus was first established. Yesterday, however, the care packages were specially designed to include female razors, feminine hygiene items, and fragranced soap in addition to the standard “unisex” care items such as phone cards, coffee, reading material and snacks.

To open the event, USO President Sloan Gibson shared some remarks about the service and the specific sacrifice of American women serving in uniform. His remarks were followed by similar sentiments by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), and Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam, pictured at left with Rep. Mike McIntyre [D-NC]).

“These packages go to men and women that you will likely never know, but they are working hard to ensure our freedom here at home,” Rep. Miller said. “A care package isn’t much, but to our troops overseas it’s everything – it’s just a little bit of home.”

Other special guests included the spouses of several active duty flag officers as well as Mrs. Maryland 2010, Raquel Riley Thomas, a former U.S. Army ordnance officer. Thomas, like many other guests, took a moment before filling care packages to write some words of encouragement to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) on a flag constructed from camouflage material and patches by troops in Afghanistan. The USO has received several of these flags from forward operating bases all over Southeast Asia as thanks for opening USO centers in their location.

“I am so glad I got the opportunity to be here and bringing this flag here for everyone to sign is just so special,” Thomas said. “It’s awesome to see the goodness going both ways.”

In December, the USO moved past the two million mark for care packages shipped. Learn how you can contribute to Operation USO Care Package by contacting your local USO Center. -- Article and photos by Joe Lee 

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