RANCHO SANTA FE, California—C. Neil Ash knew there wasn’t a USO center at San Diego International Airport. And that bothered him.

So, in the late 1980s, the then-USO board member — a Navy veteran who served in both World War II and the Korean War — went about fixing that.

“We have military here,” Ash said of the San Diego community. “A large port with ships in the Navy, the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, it was so strange that we didn’t have a USO at the airport.”

Ash, now 91, quickly gathered support from corporations as far north as Los Angeles to raise money for the airport center, which would eventually bear his name.

Since it’s dedication in March 1990, the Neil Ash USO Center has moved locations twice, from it’s humble beginnings as a small trailer to the current 10,000-square-foot facility. It continues to serve tens of thousands of service members every month, and is usually the first USO center Marine recruits west of the Mississippi River stop at on their way to boot camp.

You can send a message of support and thanks directly to service members via the USO’s Campaign to Connect. Your messages will appear on screens at USO locations around the world.