By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar – Al Udeid Air Base’s United Service Organizations Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program provides service members an alternate communication resource to keep in touch with loved ones globally.

The program provides free recording and postage services to service members, allowing them to record themselves reading books provided through the program, and mail the audio file home along with the books they read free of charge.

Photo credit DVIDS/Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal

Air Force Capt. Nathan Badger records himself reading a book on Feb. 8, 2019 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

“The USO is able to help service members read to their children from around the world,” said Ray Sevidal, USO Qatar center manager.

“The USO is there to provide that powerful connection back home. This is especially important for service members deployed throughout the globe in locations such as Al Udeid Air Base.”

Sevidal went on to describe the program’s process from start to finish.

“The USO staff and volunteers will walk them through the process step-by-step from selecting the books, checking them in online through our iPads and assisting them in filling out the forms and mailing envelopes,” Sevidal said.

Photo credit DVIDS/Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal

Air Force Capt. Nathan Badger writes messages to his children in a book.

“The actual book the service members read to their children, and the recording, will be mailed by the USO at no charge to the service member, and they should arrive to their loved ones within 10 to 14 days.”

USO [team]members travel to other locations across Qatar, including As Sayliyah Army Base, to provide as many service members as possible the opportunity to use the program.

Books are organized on a shelf for service members to select. | Photo credit DVIDS/Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal

Air Force Capt. Nathan Badger…took advantage of the program’s capabilities, recording himself reading a book for his son and daughter.

“For any person who is trying to stay connected or just have a nice gift for any kind of child, this is a great resource with a great selection of books,” Badger said.

“The USO makes it very easy to use this fun, interactive resource.”

Service members can learn more about the program or schedule a session by contacting USO Qatar at usoqatar@uso.org.

Air Force Capt. Nathan Badger selects books to read to his children with the help of USO staffer Jolene Lopez. | Photo credit DVIDS/Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal

“We have been told by our service members who repeatedly return to do more readings that their children love the videos, especially when they can read along with their parents on the videos,” said Sevidal.

“The children don’t have to wait for a specific time of day or worry about internet connectivity to see their deployed parent. They can always pull out the recording any time of day to read along.”

-This story has been edited for grammar, brevity and style. It was originally published on DVIDS.

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