USO Senior Manager of Volunteer Operations Allison Nalley introduces the USO Volunteers of the Quarter for Spring 2019.
Air Force Tech Sgt. Beau Hensley | USO Incirlik, Turkey | Europe Region
‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it,’ is a phrase the staff at USO Incirlik in Turkey have come to expect from this dedicated, mission-driven volunteer.
Air Force Tech Sgt. Beau Hensley has been volunteering at USO Incirlik for 8 months and is known as the go-to volunteer for just about anything. From keeping everyone entertained, to delivering USO goodies, to fabricating a temporary metal cover to protect the center’s stove during kitchen repairs, Hensley is up for anything and can be counted on to deliver quality service with a great attitude.
Hensley is not only a highly reliable jack of all trades, but is also a strong ambassador for the USO brand. Hensley is highly regarded in the community and has been known to recruit new volunteers from amongst his peers – fifteen at last count, according to the USO Incirlik senior center operations manager – five of whom are currently serving as recurring volunteers within the center. He is a natural leader who works with his fellow volunteers to ensure smooth program delivery, quality center operations and effective community outreach. “Beau [Hensley] is a crucial team member in creating and executing the USO mission. His drive and talents make him an exceptional volunteer,” said Rebecca Womack, senior center operations manager for USO Incirlik.
“Beau is always there to assist when needed whether it is opening the center, dressing up in a heart costume, driving us on the flight line to deliver goodies, or helping move furniture from one side of the base to the other. He is dedicated, committed, and loyal to the USO staff and to other volunteers.”
Hensley is truly a force multiplier at this USO and, by taking on project after project to ensure the center runs effectively, has touched the lives of more than 30,000 patrons during his volunteer tenure. As a volunteer who frequently works behind the scenes, Hensley is a true force behind the forces.
Army Sgt. Ingrid Brown | USO Camp Casey, South Korea | Pacific Region
Becoming the face of the USO at a center is no small feat and Army Sgt. Ingrid Brown has been crowned with this title by the center staff and her fellow volunteers at Camp Casey in Korea.
She is a key volunteer who serves as a front desk leader and a program assistant for both Operation Birthday Cake and the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program. She often comes in on top of her regularly scheduled shifts to assist with special events at multiple locations around South Korea. She shows great ownership and accountability for the center by ensuring operations run smoothly during her shifts and always provides top-notch customer service to all patrons in the center.
The staff at Camp Casey are quick to praise Brown’s superb interpersonal skills. She motivates other volunteers through collaboration, is an energetic self-starter, and develops a quick rapport with everyone she meets. Ingrid is known to assist new soldiers who are working on finishing their mandatory computer-based training in the centers. She also troubleshoots basic IT issues for staff and regularly cleans and tidies the center without being asked.
“Sgt. Brown is one of our most devoted military volunteers and considers the USO her ‘second home’ since arriving in Korea. She is close to both the USO staff and her fellow volunteers and enjoys volunteering and helping other soldiers at Camp Casey,” said Thomas Higgins, the center manager at USO Camp Casey.
Brown is truly a member of the USO family at Camp Casey. She brings technical expertise, energy, excitement and great ideas to the organization. Not only is she dedicated, smart and creative, but she is also a true military professional and is widely respected in both the military and civilian communities.
Monica Pedraza Ingram | USO San Antonio, Texas | US Region
Monica Pedraza Ingram is a staple at USO San Antonio. Her drive, commitment and skill have resulted in the creation of new programs, such as USO Birthday Shout Out! (a mass birthday celebration for trainees who are often away from home for the first time) and the sustainment of current key programming like Newcomer’s Orientation, Spouse Expos and Air Force Basic Training graduations. Ingram recently procured donations of both food and drinks for the USO San Antonio’s Super Bowl party which allowed the center to serve over 400 patrons on a limited budget.
Not only is Ingram a force to be reckoned with when it comes to program planning and oversight, but she’s also a strong and capable leader as well. After seeing a need within the Volunteer Advisory Council, Ingram offered to become the president when the role was vacated unexpectedly. As the current president, she bridges the communication gaps between volunteers, staff, service members and families.
Ingram is a fantastic recruiter as her passion and excitement for the USO have resulted in new volunteers for the center. Each month she speaks to thousands of people regarding the center’s programs at both the Newcomer’s Orientation and at Basic Training graduations.
“Monica [Ingram] wakes up at 0500 to arrive at Lackland Air Force Base to begin setting up for the weekly Air Force basic training graduations. This is a tough assignment to fill because of the time commitment involved, but Monica does not hesitate to jump in and talk to military families about all the wonderful programs and services the USO provides,“ said Senior Field Programs Manager Annette Harris.
"As a result, Monica reaches approximately 2,480 service members and families a week and leaves a lasting impression.”
Appropriately, Ingram was recently recognized by Lackland Air Force Base’s Wing Commander for her many years of dedicated service to the community. She is, as a staff member writes, “the exemplification of what it means to give of yourself”. The team in San Antonio feel fortunate to have her as an asset and are grateful for her dedication to the USO’s mission and values.
Army Cpl. Ryan Gironda | USO Bagram, Afghanistan | SWA Region
Regularly handling routine tasks and identifying and tackling center needs are the traits this stellar volunteer brings to both USO centers in Bagram, Afghanistan. Army Cpl. Ryan Gironda is a fixture in his center, often showing up several times a day to bring an armload of water bottles for the cooler, take out the trash or to welcome and chat with new service members. Ryan is so appreciated by volunteers and customers alike, they have stopped by just to personally thank him.
Gironda is a natural leader. He regularly takes the lead on center tours for patrons, provides orientation for new volunteers and recruits his peers to volunteer alongside him in the center. He frequently mentors other volunteers and has been described as patient, skilled and thorough.
When working with the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program, Gironda takes his time ensuring service members feel comfortable with the video-storytelling process and makes himself available should a need arise. When he noticed the center’s folding chairs were dirty from being left outside in the rain, he offered to build a shelter over the storage area to combat the problem. Not only does Gironda shine when it comes to peer leadership and customer service, but he’s a fantastic facilities caretaker who can often be seen cleaning and re-stocking the center.
“Ryan [Gironda] is always placing the USO mission first. He makes sure our patrons feel welcomed and at home. He always promotes the USO and people around here have come to love and appreciate Ryan and the fantastic service he provides,” said Duty Manager Stephanie Nelson.
Described as a great listener and a person who has a calming effect on other patrons, Gironda is sought out by his peers for advice and counsel. Not only is he a dedicated USO volunteer, he’s a soldier who is well-respected amongst his peers and is an overall asset to the Bagram community. As a staff member says, “He is always going the extra mile to serve with a smile”.