USO Manager of Volunteer Operations Allison Nalley introduces the USO Volunteers of the Quarter for Winter 2017-18.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Heath McDonald | USO Camp Buehring, Kuwait | Southwest Asia Region
Heath McDonald is living the dream. At least that’s what he’s best known for telling everyone when they ask how he’s doing during his shifts at USO Camp Buehring in Kuwait. He’s so well-known for it, the staff and volunteers have nicknamed him “The Dream.” Every time he enters the USO, he brightens someone’s day with his positive attitude and infectious spirit.
As a programs volunteer, he brings enthusiasm and structure to the center events. From paint night to volleyball and all the activities in between, he is at the USO, ready to assemble easels and referee games. One night, when the center was short-staffed, McDonald quickly learned the rules of cornhole and ran all the of the games. When the generator broke during a late-night event, he repaired the generator, which turned the lights back on. His technical skills ensured the USO could stay open and provide activities for his fellow service members.
“Every time Heath enters the USO to volunteer, he aims to brighten someone’s day with his positive attitude,” Duty Manager Joanna Wellons said. “He is always willing to help whenever needed and goes above and beyond his volunteer duties to ensure the center is running smoothly and that service members are enjoying their visit. Heath has a pure heart and loves being able to bring service members together by keeping them connected to family, home and country.”
When he’s not helping with programming, you can find him behind the front desk, or around the base, encouraging other service members to stop by the USO. McDonald will be moving soon and has already reached out to the USO location at his next duty station to ask about volunteering. He truly is a mission-first kind of person. If you ever get the chance to meet “The Dream,” be sure to ask him how he’s doing.
Pam Siefers | USO Camp Atterbury, Indiana | U.S. Region
On Mondays, service members can count on Pam Siefers to be at USO Camp Atterbury in Indiana with a warm welcome and a friendly smile. “Momma Pam,” as guests affectionately refer to her, understands that the USO in Camp Atterbury is a home away from home for many and spends some of her volunteer time creating the comforts of home in the kitchen with hot meals for all.
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But her work does not end in the center. She is also a great advocate for the USO. When she’s not in the center, she can be found raising awareness about Camp Atterbury and the USO’s mission. Siefers is regularly called on to do speaking engagements in her community on behalf of the center and helps recruit new volunteers. She is also a great fundraiser and has received in-kind and monetary donations for the center. Once, on Super Bowl Sunday, she helped the USO get 250 chicken wings and 10 new Playstation controllers donated to help make the party a success. She is a true champion for the cause.
“Pam embodies what we look for in a volunteer, but is so very rare to find,” Center Manager Jaclyn Bolin said. “She is a welcoming face, a generous heart, dedicated, reliable and someone willing to be an ambassador for the USO at all times—not just while volunteering during her shift. She takes initiative and is constantly finding ways to positively impact our military families’ lives.”
Despite living more than 50 miles away from Camp Atterbury, she drives to the USO to volunteer once a week. Because of her warm personality and big heart, Momma Pam is first person service members look for on Monday mornings. We hope that she will continue to brighten their day for many years to come.
Sandy Le | USO Grafenwoehr, Germany |Europe Region
Sandy Le is a constant at USO Grafenwoehr in Bavaria, Germany. Staff know her for the high standards she holds while taking care of the center and visitors know they can count on her most weekday mornings. When she isn’t helping guests, she is keeping the center in top shape by cleaning and restocking. Le pays attention to the smallest details and is the perfect person for more creative jobs.
For example, when a sewing machine appeared in the center, Le quickly jumped at the chance to help create table overlays for a special program. She worked closely with another volunteer on sewing more than 60 small squares of fabric to create a beautiful pattern. When the work didn’t get finished during the day, she brought it home and completed it that night. Once the staff realized what an excellent seamstress she was, Le was asked to help repair hats for the center. She did such a perfect job, you can hardly see where they were sewed.
“We are proud that Sandy has become the face of USO Grafenwoehr,” said Kelly Sutterfield, center operations manager. “On the rare occasion that she is not here during the week, guests will ask about her. Her smile and attitude are infectious, and she never hesitates to ask how someone’s day is going. Sandy is the epitome of the ideal volunteer.”
When she’s not working inside the center, Le will do outreach for the USO, recuriting volunteers and letting service members know about the programs and opportunities available to them. She is so valuable, the staff at USO Grafenwoehr wish they could have two of her!
Andrea Berry | USO Andersen, Guam | Pacific Region
Andrea Berry understands the importance of food. And not just because it’s necessary for survival, but because it brings people together and provides them the small comforts of home, even while overseas. For USO Andersen in Guam, she is the go-to volunteer when it comes to nutrition programs in the center. The food that she cooks is not only delicious, it encourages service members to come to the center and spend time together, bringing fellowship and goodwill to all.
Berry provides the whole package when it comes to the events she hosts at the center. From shopping and prep work, to cooking and clean up, she is there from start to finish to make sure every event is a success. She came up with the idea to host a weekly “Waffle Wednesday” where she makes breakfast for service members and their families. As soon as breakfast is over, she’s prepping for the Wednesday chili and rice meal. When she’s not in the center making food, you can find her out in the community doing outreach barbecues for squadrons that can’t make it into the center and delivering candy bouquets during Valentine’s Day.
“Andi’s can-do attitude and her love for the local and military communities set her apart,” Area Program Manager Edmund Lebita said. “She never hesitates to support an event or program, often with very little notice. Her innovative ideas have led to successful programs that have become weekly staples within the Andersen Air Force Base community. From grilling to baking, she loves to share her love of cooking and friendship with everyone she encounters.”
Once, when a large group of airmen were forced out of their houses due to an emergency at 5:00 a.m., the center manager knew who to call to come help. Within no time, Berry was at the center making pancakes for more than 50 displaced service members. Her quick response and willingness to help enabled the USO to provide support when airmen really needed it. Thanks to Andrea Berry, USO Andersen’s visitors leave happy – and full.