USO to Dedicate Bethesda Warrior and Family Center to Prescott Bush
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
By USO Staff
USO Warrior and Family Centers are built with an eye toward the future. But the center in Bethesda, Md., will also honor the past.
The USO officially announced this week that it will dedicate its next Warrior and Family Center to Prescott S. Bush.
Bush – who is the President George H.W. Bush’s father and President George W. Bush’s grandfather – chaired the USO National Campaign during World War II, helping raise $34 million in 1942, his first year at the helm.
The USO Warrior and Family Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., is slated to open in spring 2014.
“I am deeply touched that the USO is remembering and honoring my father's service in this meaningful way,” President George H.W. Bush, who turns 89 today, said in a statement. “Dad was totally devoted to supporting the USO and its noble mission of lifting up our servicemen and women who defend our freedom, and he would be inspired not only to see how that morally important charge has been carried out to this day – but also to see the energy and thought being so diligently invested in the USO's future.
“Service was my father's creed, you might say, and our family is very grateful to know his name will forever be associated with an organization dedicated to ‘duty, honor, country.’”
Prescott Bush – who died in 1972 at age 77 – served as a field artillery captain in the American Expeditionary Services branch of the Army during World War I. He went on to a successful business career and eventually represented Connecticut in the United States Senate from 1952 to 1963.
The USO was established in 1941, with Bush becoming a key cog in its growth a year later. He led four campaign efforts to raise money for the National War Fund, from which the USO benefited. All told, Bush helped raise more than $210 million for the USO, which is equivalent to nearly $2.6 billion in purchasing power today.
The USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda – which is currently being built on the grounds of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center – will feature a bronze bust of Prescott Bush with an inscription detailing his contributions to the organization.
USO President Sloan Gibson first publicly spoke of the dedication during at the November groundbreaking for the Bethesda center. During the ceremony, Gibson read a letter from George H.W. Bush thanking the USO for recognizing his father’s contribution.
“I have always been proud of his role in the founding of the USO, but I thought it was a family secret,” the letter said. “All these years later for this great man to be recognized for what he did for love of country means a great deal to me, my brothers and sister, and all his grandchildren – especially the one who became the 43rd President of the United States.”
The USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda is strategically located adjacent to Tranquility Hall – the warrior transition brigade’s barracks – making it convenient for wounded, ill and injured troops and their families to take advantage of the facilities and USO Warrior and Family Care programs during the recovery process. The Bethesda center – which is more than 16,000 square feet – features the latest in technology and learning spaces along with unique spots to relax like a healing garden and a fireside lounge. For those who want to be creative or just have fun, there will be a gaming room and a space dedicated to creative arts.
“Today’s USO stands as a legacy of Prescott Bush’s leadership and his hard work 70 years ago,” Gibson said. “He provided the USO with the foundation to achieve the unparalleled scope, scale, presence, reach, knowledge and trust we treasure today.”
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Photo caption: Prescott Bush chaired the USO National Campaign during World War II. (U.S. Senate photo)
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