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Eye-Catching USO Opens in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Friday, November 16, 2012

By Joseph Andrew Lee 

Building a USO Center in the path and view of traveling troops can make all the difference when it comes to delivering our signature comforts from home.

At the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, a new and improved center has attained visibility beyond any other because of its unique design and construction, straddling the busiest escalator in the most popular terminal.

As visitors ride the escalator down to baggage claim in Terminal 4, they will pass through a portion of the new USO Arizona so civilians, as well as military travelers, can peer into a portion of the center.

“It’s nearly impossible to miss,” said Center Director Anne Theodosis, who has looked forward to the center’s opening for the past two years. “Where the center used to be, [in Terminal 2] we got about 500 visitors a month, but now, with this much visibility, we are expecting at least three times as much traffic.”

On Thursday, senior military leaders and local officials including Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, adjutant general with the Arizona National Guard Major General Hugo Salazar and Medal of Honor recipient Michael Thornton were among the more than 150 guests on hand to celebrate the long-awaited grand opening. Representatives from two of the major corporate sponsors behind the center’s funding TriWest and American Airlines were also present.

“We have a long history of supporting U.S. military members, veterans and their families,” said Bernie Willett, director of community programs at American Airlines. “We’re proud to partner with the USO year-round through programs that allow our generous customers and our people an opportunity to give back to those who sacrifice so much for our freedom. The new USO Center at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will provide service members a place to rest and relax while traveling, a meaningful comfort that is very well deserved.”

In addition to its improved location, the new center is three times larger, affording the USO the opportunity to better serve troops and military families.

“As one of the busiest airports in the country, this center will offer Arizona-based servicemen and women, as well as those passing through to their final destinations, a much-deserved place to relax and unwind,” said TriWest President and CEO David J. McIntyre Jr. “TriWest is proud to support the USO and this fantastic center as a thank you to service members and their families who sacrifice so much in defense of our nation.”

With more than 3,000 square feet of space, the improved center features a large kitchen area, a movie room, a children’s play area, private computer kiosks and traditional amenities such as free WiFi and phones to call home.

USO Arizona will be open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and will support the thousands of servicemen and women currently residing in the Phoenix area through core USO programming such as the United Through Reading’s Military ProgramWith You All the WayOperation USO Care Packages and outreach to local military installations like Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz..

"We are so proud to have a USO here at Phoenix Sky Harbor and excited that now our troops will have even more space to relax when traveling through ‘America's Friendliest Airport,’" Stanton said. “We love, believe in, trust and support the people who put on that uniform and today, I’m able to demonstrate that love and trust. I’m a very happy mayor.”

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(Photo credit: Joseph Andrew Lee / USO) 

Donate today to support our troops this Veterans Day during the USO’s "Grant a Wish for Our Heroes" campaign. 

Federal employees can help the USO fulfill its mission to support troops and their families though the 2012 Combined Federal Campaign. Please designate #11381. 

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