USO Senior Manager of Volunteer Operations Allison Nalley introduces the USO Volunteers of the Quarter for Winter 2018-2019.
Army Sgt. Sean Haight | USO Bavaria, Germany | Europe Region
There is no one in the USO Bavaria area more likely to show up on a moment’s notice than Army Sgt. Sean “Taco” Haight. Taco, as his friends call him, will work morning, noon and night to support his fellow service members in the Bavaria area of Germany. There is no task too great or too small for him to take on, and he uses his leadership abilities and ingenuity to solve problems as they arise. In the 10 months that Haight has been volunteering with USO Bavaria, he has already logged more than 500 hours, proving that he is dedicated and hard working. Haight is most likely to be found supporting outreach programming and special events.
Once, during a particularly cold period of the winter months, Haight was delivering warm drinks and meals to service members working outside when they realized that the food and drink station they had set up would not be suitable for the team on the opposite side of camp. He created a portable food and drink station, which he wheeled over to those who could not come to the main area. He spent the remainder of the day carting the portable station between the two areas of camp. Thanks to his quick thinking, Sean was able to provide more service members with snacks and warm beverages on a very cold day.
“Taco is a positive, highly energetic self-starter who readily and willingly takes initiative, and whose charisma naturally attracts others to want to be part of whatever project he is working on. Taco’s demonstrated passion and commitment to our mission have had a major impact on our ability to provide ‘USO Goodness’ to the service members and their families in USAG Bavaria,” said Carly Harris, USO Bavaria area director.
Sgt. Haight has literally brought “magic” into the center by cultivating and expanding the “Magic the Gathering” following at the USO in Grafenwoehr. When he isn’t building the gaming community, he’s offering a smile and greeting to all those that enter the center. Whether out in the field or behind the desk, the staff at USO Bavaria know they can count on Haight any time of day and night to bring the USO mission and magic to service members in Germany.
April Barzanti | USO Andersen, Guam | Pacific Region
April Barzanti has a true passion for the USO mission. As a military spouse, she has seen firsthand the impact that a center can have on service members and their families. As such, she walks into the center every day, ready and willing to provide the support that staff and visitors alike need. Barzanti, who has an interest in business management, utilizes her skills to play an important administrative role for the USO in Guam. In order to maximize her impact, she challenged herself to learn as much as she could about the area’s business practices, administrative responsibilities, volunteers and their online engagement strategy. From there, she was able to help run the social media pages, send correspondences to fellow volunteers and work in the area office helping the staff with administrative tasks.
As the volunteer editor for print, social and digital media, Barzanti has an eye for marketing and design and knows how to best inform guests and volunteers about center happenings. When she’s not helping with marketing tasks, she is the executive chef of the Tuesday Taya Katne meals, which are just as tasty as they are photograph-able, and images of them can be found on the social media pages she manages for the center.
“April has been paramount to USO Andersen operations and programs and always goes above and beyond what is asked of her. In addition to all the amazing things she does to support regular center operations and share the USO story through her graphic design talents, she has also led or had key supporting roles this past quarter in programs,” said Erin Ramey, USO Pacific regional operations manager.
When Barzanti isn’t working on social media or taking pictures of center events, you can find her creating new programs, welcoming guests and providing administrative support to the staff. Barzanti is always willing to lend a hand wherever she is needed in the center. The team at USO Andersen is grateful to Barzanti for her keen eye and willingness to help out whenever needed.
Donna Zabicki | USO Fort Sam Houston/USO San Antonio, Texas | US Region
If it’s Wednesday, you know you’ll find Donna Zabicki at the USO Fort Sam Houston center in Houston, Texas. Like clockwork, she’ll be there helping to distribute snacks and visit with the more than 600 service members that stop by the center every day. Wednesdays are a popular programming day as well, with “Wellness Wednesday” cooking, adaptative yoga and tabata classes all happening throughout the day. Whether it’s behind the stove or at the front desk, Zabicki supports the programs and helps keep the center running smoothly.
The staff at USO Fort Sam Houston know they can count on Zabicki, who has come to the rescue more times than they can recall. If someone calls out sick or the center is understaffed, Zabicki easily steps in and takes charge, even when it’s not her usual territory. Zabicki is adaptable and can go from chatting with a small group of service members to handing out 500 hamburgers in an hour.
Because of this, you can sometimes find her helping out at the three San Antonio locations, a three-hour drive away, or working offsite programs and special events.
“Donna goes above and beyond every time she volunteers. She is a true mentor, model volunteer and selfless servant of all that we do in San Antonio. Her friendly, compassionate and motivational personality draw clients, volunteers and staff to her. She is a joy to work with and an inspiration to be around,” said Daniel Wood, USO Sam Houston center operations supervisor.
She truly does it all. When she isn’t busy serving pastries and helping out with programs, Zabicki is mentoring and training new volunteers. In the five years that she’s been volunteering, she has helped to orient 30 new people to the team. Zabicki is a vital component of the center’s operations and her fellow volunteers and the staff count themselves lucky that she is part of the team.
Army Capt. Walkerius “Chuck” Logos | USO Camp Arifjan, Kuwait | SWA Region
Capt. Walkerius “Chuck” Logos is a true embodiment of the USO mission. He works most days to ensure that the USO can provide vital resources and programs to his fellow service members in Camp Arifjan, located in Kuwait. Guests know when they walk into the USO that they will be greeted by Logos’ warm hello and friendly smile. He is naturally personable, and guests and volunteers alike are drawn to him. Because of this, he is the perfect person to run the karaoke competition, which requires a good-natured host and someone who can make others feel comfortable in front of the mic. Since taking it on, attendance has surged and the request for additional karaoke nights has spiked as well.
Logos is a team player. He is a vital part of the program planning at the center. From the initial discussion about a new activity, marketing and implementation, he is there to help make sure the event runs smoothly. When he isn’t helping out with programs, he is behind the front desk checking in guests and making sure everyone who walks in the door knows about all of the center’s amenities and offerings.
“Chuck’s dedication to our staff, center and volunteers has created a positive and comfortable environment for everyone who enters. From prepping for events and training other volunteers, to checking-in guests, he has a hand in each part of our center. It is difficult to pinpoint any one instance in which Chuck has gone above and beyond because he does so on a regular basis. He is part of the USO identity here and the guests love him for it,” says Shannon Reilly, USO Camp Arifjan duty manager.
Capt. Logos is invaluable to the USO Camp Arifjan. He is present every day, offers his full time and energy to the center, and never waivers from his positive attitude. The center runs smoother with Logos as a volunteer.
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