To mark Veterans Day, we asked some of our volunteers who have served in America’s armed forces to share why they give their time to today’s troops by helping the USO. Here is one of their stories.
Way back in 1968, 20 days after my high school graduation, I was on my way to Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., for boot camp and more than a year of electronics school. This was my first time away from home and I was in a strange place where I didn’t know anyone
or where anything was. On weekends during school, several of us would go to Chicago or Milwaukee for liberty. The USOs in both cities were our first destination, as this was the place to find out what was going on in the city for the weekend. Also, the meals they served were mostly the only food we got. They were our home away from home.
Eventually we settled on spending our free time in Milwaukee and were frequent visitors at the USO and the activities they sponsored. As E-2s and E-3s in the late 1960s, we would not have been able to see and enjoy the things we did without the USO.
I now am retired and have the opportunity to give back some of what I received. Fort Campbell, Ky. and the military are different now from when I was at Great Lakes, as the members are older and many are married with children. Some things are still the same, as many troops lack of money to do anything special. Helping these folks and their families is a great way to support our military, especially on a base that has carried a heavy burden in the present warfare.
Oh, and by the way, I met my wife when she was a volunteer with the USO in Milwaukee. We have been married for almost 43 years and now both volunteer at the USO in Fort Campbell.
–Paul Andrews USO Fort Campbell volunteer
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'We’re Here for the Soldiers’: How One Volunteer Couple Answered the Call to Serve at USO Fort Hood
Anne Cosper always wanted to volunteer at the USO. So when her daughter, who currently serves in the U.S. Army, was reassigned to Fort Hood – only an hour drive from her Georgetown, Texas, home – she decided it was the perfect opportunity to get involved at the USO center on base.
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How USO SeaTac’s ‘Banana’ Bob Got His Nickname
Bob Harris first began volunteering at the USO Northwest Seattle-Tacoma International Airport center in 2013. Shortly after he started, he was asked if he’d be interested in picking up donated bananas and bringing them to the airport center once a week. It wasn’t long after his first delivery that Bob realized the donations runs had earned him a new nickname.