Your USO at Work: The Newsletter of the USO (July 2012)
(Issue 21, July 2012)
USO Caregivers Conference Brings New Hope
When Krissy Banegas met her husband Joey, he’d already lost a leg in Afghanistan and was three years into recovery. Though she willingly stepped into the caregiver role, she sometimes finds the responsibility overwhelming.
“It’s harder than what I thought it would be like in the beginning,” she said.
The Banegases were among nearly 100 spouses, partners, parents and others attending the USO Caregivers Conference in San Antonio on May 30. The USO Caregivers Conferences offer advice and information on stress management, parenting, military benefits and improving communication between wounded, ill and injured troops and their caregivers.
The couple came away from the conference pledging to work harder on communication, to listen to each other and their children, to avoid blaming each other and to be thankful for their blessings.
“It’s a lot easier to notice the things that are wrong than to realize what you have,” Joey said. “It’s a lot easier to give up than push through it.” The USO is planning to host more Caregivers Conferences in 2013. Read the story.
Making Mother’s Day Memories at the VP Residence
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined dozens of Congressional spouses May 10 to assemble Mother’s Day gift boxes for the wives, moms and girlfriends of deployed troops.
“I can only imagine the challenge that this time brings for people with loved ones deployed,” First Lady Michelle Obama said.
The USO teamed up with Full Circle Home to acquire and assemble 2,000 packages to be delivered to women across the country.
“Troops serving in harm’s way just want to know that someone back home is looking out for their loved ones,” USO President Sloan Gibson said.
The first and second ladies spent an hour standing in an assembly line on the lawn of the vice president’s mansion in Washington, D.C., filling boxes with perfumes, lotions, gift cards, a charm bracelet, and—most importantly—a handwritten note from the troops to the women in their lives. The event was part of their Joining Forces initiative to support military families. Read the story.
Topping Out at Fort Belvoir
USO Operation Enduring Care Co-Chair Ed Reilly, USO of Metropolitan Washington President Elaine Rogers, USO President and CEO Sloan Gibson and Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Colonel John Strycula pose in front of the final roof beam that was placed during the June 13 topping out ceremony at the USO Warrior and Family Center on Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
A topping out ceremony is a builder’s tradition that marks the placement of the final beam in a structure. The building is on track to be completed late this year. Read the story.
Milligan's Résumé: Making a Difference
When Marquita Milligan applied to be an administrative assistant in Germany, the USO didn’t initially select her for an interview. Nearly three years later, she’s moved up from administrative work to supporting six centers as the USO Kaiserslautern Area Operations Manager.
“I found out after being hired that I did not initially make the cut for the interviews … because my professional experience was in accounting,” she said. “I am so thankful [the previous area director] asked for more résumés!”
Milligan—who received her MBA from the University of Phoenix last year—is a military spouse who sought to join the USO’s team after working for other nonprofits.
“I have experienced the USO first hand and truly appreciate the mission,” she said. “I was excited to have the opportunity to help provide support to other military families.”
Milligan says the number of requests she receives each week for community support lets her know what a difference the USO is making for troops and families in Germany.
“Though at times it might seem like a lot of work, [USO staffers and volunteers should know] that every small thing [they] do is genuinely appreciated by thousands of troops and their families.”
Toby Keith Marks 10 Years of USO Tours
Award-winning singer and songwriter Toby Keith celebrated a decade of USO tours this spring, taking a five-country, 12-day trip to entertain troops in the Middle East. The country star continued his longstanding tradition of visiting remote bases to deliver thanks from home.
“I can’t believe it has already been a decade, t feels like just yesterday when I first started working with the USO,” Keith said. “I’ve met so many great, brave servicemen and women over the years and had so many wonderful experiences ... One thing is for sure, I enjoy working with the USO, I love our nation’s troops and I won’t ever stop doing my part to extend my thanks.” See the photos from Keith's tour.
USO, Universal and Coke Partner on Battleship
The USO collaborated with Universal Pictures’ summer blockbuster Battleship and partner Coca-Cola to raise awareness of the needs of troops and their families.
Through this partnership, Universal Pictures’ Battleship Director Peter Berg produced a public service announcement for the USO called “Real Heroes” to encourage all Americans to salute our troops. The PSA will be featured on the Battleship DVD, out this August.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola invited their Coke Zero consumers to donate to the USO through their MyCokeRewards program. For every point donated, Coke Zero will make a donation to the USO and then match it up to a total of $50,000. Watch the PSA.
UPCOMING EVENTS *America celebrates its independence on July 4 * On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon * Air Force Day is August 1 * The Coast Guard marks its 222nd birthday on August 4 * V-J Day, marking Japan's World War II surrender, is August 14 * Labor Day is September 3 *