By Angie Poole
While deployed soldiers from Fort Wainwright, Alaska defend our freedom overseas – including braving last month’s missile strikes in Iraq – proud military spouses and USO volunteers, like Jessica Hunter, find peace and purpose by giving back to the military community.
That sense of purpose is exactly why Hunter – an Army spouse, mother of three and full-time medical student – dedicates every Sunday to baking hundreds of brownies for her local USO and its Making Mondays Great program.
Coffee, Brownies and a Super Soaker Make Mondays Great in Alaska
In Alaska’s dark winters with temperatures hovering near 50 degrees below freezing, it’s important to find new and creative ways to boost morale for our soldiers training on the home front.
So, the USO Alaska team developed the Making Mondays Great program to meet service members where they work: in the field, at the range and in the motor pools. USO staffers and volunteers fill super soaker water guns with delicious coffee and head out in the snow to (unconventionally) deliver the brew along with baked brownies.
After all, some Mondays just call for coffee straight to the face with a super soaker!
Making Mondays Great goes beyond just providing service members with much-needed caffeine and fresh baked goods on a frigid Monday morning far from home – it also delivers laughter and fun with each delivery. Even commanders get in on the action, shooting at their troops with coffee-filled super soakers. Service members often go from grizzled and grumpy to being left in stitches!
Boosting the Mood and Jump-Starting the Week
For many service members, Making Mondays Great sets the tone for the whole week – one stained shirt and shot of coffee (to the face) at a time.
“Mondays are brutal in Alaska,” said Sgt. Charles with the 70th Brigade Engineer Battalion. “But when we see the USO coming, the whole atmosphere changes. They bring the joy, and we take that with us all week.”
Giving soldiers a moment of mood-boosting fun would be impossible without our patriotic donors or our volunteers, like Hunter.
“For me, Making Mondays Great is a chance to put my faith into action. I was called to serve, and because of that I know full-well how truly better it is to give than it is to receive,” Hunter said.
“The USO gives me the opportunity to use my gifts to leave a lasting impact. And we have a blast doing it.”
With volunteers like Hunter and donors like you, the USO can continue its 79-year tradition of strengthening America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country throughout their service to this great nation, for generations to come.