By Angie Poole

With strict safety precautions in place due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, USO locations around the world have had to get creative with their programming in support of the military community.

A golden egg sits in a tree, waiting to be found. | Photo credit USO Alaska

Enter USO Alaska’s Golden Egg Hunt: where volunteers and staff have been hiding golden eggs around Fort Wainwright, Alaska, as part of a large, elaborate scavenger hunt, and will continue to do so each day until Easter.

The finder of a hidden egg must submit a video of themselves completing the dare that is inside the egg in order to win free takeout delivery from their favorite restaurant. This is a fun and safe activity in which the USO is still able to responsibly feed our troops and lift spirits while following CDC social distancing guidelines.

The Golden Egg Hunt boosts morale by encouraging solo hikes outdoors, while also keeping soldiers connected to family, home and country. The laughter and joy shared through the virtual shenanigans have been a wonderful respite from the current global health crisis.

It has also been a great way to help support local small businesses and partners, while also encouraging service members to look for the “golden lining” amidst all the snow and sickness.

A Few Golden Moments During COVID-19 Social Distancing

Just how far will service members go for free delivery?

After finding a golden egg, the Golgart family, stationed in Fort Wainwright, was dared to re-enact George Washington’s iconic crossing of the Delaware River as a family, and they did not disappoint. Mr. Golgart even brandished his own miniature American flag patch, waving in the crisp Alaskan breeze, as Mrs. Golgart instructed her kiddos to “Row! Row!” through hilarious fits of laughter.

Another soldier in the area, Sgt. Dooley, was dared to film and share her best bathroom mirror pep talk. Viewers watching her video submission can relate to the quarantined mother of three, who reassures herself that she did not, in fact, have to watch “Frozen” for the 57th time, as per her children’s demands. She could say no to “Frozen!” she reminded herself.

After receiving her free takeout, which was a welcomed night off from cooking, Dooley noted that, “we are truly blessed to have such an amazing USO.”

Additionally, in the true spirit of comradery, she was also glad that her bathroom mirror pep talk could make people laugh.

“We all can relate to watching a kid’s movie repeatedly,” she said.

A Golden Opportunity to Support the Military

Other service members have submitted videos of themselves giving shout-outs to loved ones and friends back home, as well as battle buddies deployed overseas.

The USO remains dedicated to the essential mission delivery to our troops taking place in remote outposts across the globe. Those efforts are especially crucial in places like the arctic tundra of interior Alaska, where efforts to boost morale are critical to the Army’s combat readiness.

Thanks to generous Americans like you, along with the unwavering resolve of our military and volunteer force, we know that we are in this together, and together, we will see this through.