USO Manager of Volunteer Operations Allison Nalley introduces the USO Volunteers of the Quarter for Fall 2018.
Airman 1st Class DaReek Parker | USO Grafenwoehr, Germany | Europe Region
Airman 1st Class DaReek Parker is the type of volunteer that center staff are lucky to have. At USO Grafenwoehr in Germany, he is a steady and compassionate person that steps in whenever and wherever the USO needs him. When he first started volunteering five months ago, he quickly became a regular, coming whenever he had the time – 30 minutes one day, five hours the next. His positive demeanor and upbeat personality make him the ideal center representative. He will lend anyone a helping hand and is always willing to pass out coffee and cookies to service members who stop by.
When Parker discovered there was a need to support special events, he immediately offered to help. From recruiting volunteers to executing the program to staying late to clean up, he ensures each event is a success.
For USO Grafenwoehr’s annual Christmas in July, Parker had a great promotion idea. He dressed up as “Summer Santa” and brought along his “Selfie Elfie” to let people know about the activity going on at the center. Thanks to his quick thinking and willingness to have fun, the event had great attendance.
“DaReek has been actively involved in programs that have served more than 4,476 service members and their families. He is well known and respected for his positive attitude, motivating personality and ever-present smile. DaReek’s focus is to ensure that both our guests and his USO teammates have a first-rate USO day and experience. He is a genuinely warm and caring person, which makes all of his encounters positive,” said Kelly Sutterfield, USO Grafenwoehr center operations manager.
Between his creativity and his work ethic, Parker is a valuable addition to USO Grafenwoehr. While he is most well known for his “Summer Santa” outfit, he truly shines when he is able to give back to his fellow service members. Always ready to help, the center runs more smoothly when Parker is around.
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Marine Lance Cpl. Samuel Jacksonwest | USO Camp Foster, Japan | Pacific Region
When the staff at USO Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan, think of dedication, they immediately think of Lance Cpl. Samuel Jacksonwest. “Dedicated” is truly the best way to describe this volunteer, who goes above and beyond to make sure he can support the USO and give his time as often as possible. He is a true champion of the USO mission and is the first to offer outreach support or recruit new volunteers.
Jacksonwest knows how important it is to keep the USO open and providing services and programs for guests. This means that regardless of whether it is a holiday or a Friday night after a hard work week, he will be there with his signature warm smile ready to help service members and their families.
When Meaty Mondays (a dinner program) was going to be cancelled because it fell on a holiday, Jacksonwest quickly offered to fill in as the chef and ensured that everyone could still receive their free meal. Another time, when the center had to have the floors cleaned, he worked with a fellow volunteer overnight to remove all of the furniture and prepare the space for the cleaning. Jacksonwest goes above and beyond to keep the center running in top shape.
“Sam is truly a selfless individual. The patrons at the center are forever grateful for the time that Sam volunteers. They appreciate him being there to keep the doors open. He is always willing to help no matter what the task might be. Over-achievers such as Sam should be recognized because they are the ones that keep the mission going,” said Tamara Owens, USO Camp Foster center manager.
When Jacksonwest is not at the center, he is acting as an advocate in his community for the USO mission. Jacksonwest can be counted on to regularly recruit new volunteers and spread awareness about volunteer opportunities. He also brings the USO to others, especially when they cannot come to the center. Once, he boxed up 60 lunches and took them to a group of service members who could not leave their stations. A selfless individual with a passion for helping his fellow service members, Jacksonwest is the type of person that USO Camp Foster is glad to have on the team.
Janice Spriggs | Bob Hope USO, California | U.S. Region
Janice Spriggs is an inaugural volunteer at Bob Hope USO in Orange County, California. She has been working at the center since day one of its opening more than four years ago. As a dedicated volunteer, Janice has completely almost 1,000 hours. When Janice isn’t helping out around the center and greeting patrons, you can find her planning and supporting Bob Hope USO’s special events.
Special events are Spriggs’ forte. She has helped plan and execute more than 75 events, five of which occurred in this past quarter. Well known for her attention to detail, she makes every event — from holiday parties to family days and carnivals — fun and engaging for services members and their families. This year, Janice took it upon herself to get Bob Hope USO more involved in a local golf charity tournament. She was able to secure leading charity status as well as entrance into the tournament for many service members. This was a huge step up from years past, where service members were only permitted to attend. Thanks to her dedication and effort, the tournament was an excellent way to connect military members to the community.
“Jan is a true patriot and military supporter. She is a leader and a cheering squad, taking the initiative to bring support to our units. Focused and tenacious, Jan will find what is needed to get the job done. Jan builds teams. She recognizes that together we can do more to serve our troops than we can do alone. Pulling people together and gathering resources is second nature for her,” said Maureen Aherns, Bob Hope USO center manager.
Whether it’s organizing a special event or handing out snacks to a deploying group, Jan will be there. Quick on her feet and always willing to help, she is a volunteer that the staff at Bob Hope USO know they can depend on. If Spriggs’ next 1,000 hours are anything like her last, we are sure there will be plenty of great events and happy moments.
Navy Lt. Shawn Haney | USO Kandahar, Afghanistan | Southwest Asia Region
There’s nothing like Friday night football, and Lt. Shawn Haney knows that well. As a volunteer at USO Kandahar in Afghanistan, he dedicates every Friday night to a flag football game that has become a well-known tradition around the base. Haney’s passion for the USO makes him the ideal person to manage this tradition.
When Haney offered to take over the flag football game, the staff at USO Kandahar did not realize what a success it would be. He quickly got to work, creating a rule book, recruiting referees and encouraging his fellow service men and women to play in games. Most nights, you can find around 40 people playing the game, with even more on the sidelines. It’s a great way for those who are deployed to have fun, make new friends and relax after a long week.
“Shawn has made an impression on our service members and staff here at Kandahar. He is reliable, trust-worthy and takes initiative. He is passionate about our mission and does so much for our organization and his peers. We are so lucky to have him as part of our team,” said Lia Seharmidal, USO Kandahar duty manager.
When he isn’t running the football program or listening to the winners rehash the game, Shawn is helping around the USO center. You can find him wherever he is needed — behind the desk, cleaning out a storage area, or organizing the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program books.
He is truly there to support the mission and his colleagues. He makes it a point to show up early for special events and stays until the very last person has left and the area is clean. In the four months since he started volunteering, he has already logged nearly 250 hours. His dedication and passion for the USO go beyond the field and into the center. USO Kandahar is lucky to have a volunteer like Lt. Haney.