“Give the service member 100% of your attention.” I wrote this down during today’s volunteer training at the new Fort Belvoir USO Warrior and Family Center. Simple statement, HUGE impact.
I was attending training to better understand the new Center and all of its features, but in my head I kept circling back to that statement. “100% of your attention.” I was having a hard time devoting 100% of my attention to the training! My virtual to-do list racing through my head: Did that reporter email me back?…What is the deadline on that press release?…Expense reports are due!
Of course, for these volunteers, devoting time and attention to our nation’s troops and their families is second nature. 350 individuals signed up to volunteer at the new Warrior and Family Center in just a few short months, all before the Center is even open. 350 Washington, DC area residents. Moms, dads, retirees, college students- all with one thing in common: a desire to support our nation’s men and women in uniform.
This new Center may be unique in size (the largest USO Center in history) and design (20 rooms with unique functions and purpose), but it shares something in common with our more than 160 USO locations around the globe- our volunteers will serve as the heart and soul of the Center.
From our active duty military who work patrols in the field during the day and spend their free evening volunteering in our Centers in Afghanistan and Kuwait, to the many military spouses who take time away from their own families to support those deployed troops serving in Europe and the Pacific regions, to the volunteers stateside who serve “no dough dinners” at USO Centers on military installations. We also can’t forget the airport volunteers who greet traveling service men and women with hot coffee and a comfortable seat, and those volunteers that we hope to never meet, those who take the call, anytime, day or night, and support the families receiving their fallen soldier.
These individuals, thousands of them around the globe, are the life force of every USO Center. They give 100% of their attention to our nation’s heroes. I don’t know your names, but I know your passion. You do what so many of us cannot, devote fully of yourself and your talents. Thank you for your service. - Andrea Sok, USO Communications Manager
** See what volunteer opportunities are available near you at USOVolunteer.org! **
More from the USO
May 24, 2017
After Struggling to Find His Place in the World, Marine Finds Two Families – and His Place in Both
Deron Johnson didn't plan on joining the military, but he ended up a Marine. He also didn't anticipate becoming a fraternity brother at Texas A&M, but then came Theta Chi and its history of supporting the military - and the USO.
May 15, 2017
USO Operation Birthday Cake Brings the Party to Service Members in Japan
When Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeffrey Lee received an urgent call to head to his work station one morning, he thought there was something seriously wrong, but there was no emergency. Instead, he walked into his own surprise birthday celebration, courtesy of his wife, USO Yokosuka and the Operation Birthday Cake Program.
May 13, 2017
'I'll Never Forget It": Why a USO Fourth of July T-shirt Can Mean So Much
Years ago, I wore my USO T-shirt to a Houston Astros game. Someone stopped me and said, “Thank you, sir.” I turned to see a man holding his young son by the hand. He said he was active duty, leaving soon for Afghanistan.