By 107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Even during a global pandemic, the USO is always by the side of service members around the world, including members of the National Guard on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.
Normally, the USO hosts its no-cost meal program – called “No Dough Dinner” – around supper time for service members and their families. But due to COVID-19, the USO team adjusted the program to take place at lunchtime to meet the needs of Florida National Guard members who are helping in the fight against the coronavirus.
“Obviously with COVID-19, the program can’t continue as was in the past, so we now take it to the road to our troops,” said Mike O’Brien, President and CEO of USO of Greater Jacksonville.
Florida National Guardsmen are currently partnered with the local fire authorities to administer COVID-19 test kits at Jacksonville’s walk-up testing site, located at Bob Hayes Sports Complex and Legends Center. These local, first responders also got to enjoy a free lunch, thanks to the USO.
“Our mission is to keep our military connected to family, home and country,” O’Brien said.
“Anything the USO can do throughout the state of Florida to support the men and women of the National Guard, wherever they may be, honoring our military members with a little chow just to say thank you [is part of our mission].”
This is the second walk-up COVID-19 testing site organized and managed by the National Guard unit who attended the USO’s free lunch. The unit also set up Jacksonville’s first walk-up site at Kooker Park. 1st Lt. Michael Purvis, the commander of the unit, has led his company through the process of planning and establishing both sites. He also oversaw the training and execution.
“The USO is always uplifting for the soldiers,” Purvis said. “I have seen the USO through deployments, through hurricanes, they are always there. It is always amazing to me what they are able to provide.”
-This story originally appeared on DVIDShub.net. It has been edited for USO.org.
More Stories Like This
Why the National Guard is One of the Country’s Best Weapons in the Fight Against COVID-19
True to its motto of “Always Ready, Always There,” the scope, expertise and history of the National Guard has specially equipped it to be one of the United States’ best weapons in the fight against COVID-19.
Troops Returning Home from Deployment to Quarantines Find Support in the USO
After months away from loved ones, troops returning from deployment must first – before heading home – sit through a mandated 14-day quarantine. Here's how USO El Paso supported quarantined service members on Fort Bliss, Texas.
An Air National Guard Nurse Tackles the Challenges of Serving on the Front Lines of COVID-19
As the number of COVID-19 cases increases throughout the United States, military nurses are being called to the front lines of health care response, fighting for the lives of their patients, their families and themselves. One Air National Guard clinical nurse shares her story.
More from the USO
Jan 17, 2021
Giving Back to Their Communities Through the USO: Volunteer Stories of Service
In every moment they dedicate to the USO, the organization’s roughly 30,000 volunteers embody the ideals of service, selflessness and community improvement. Get to know a group of stand-out volunteers who've gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Jan 14, 2021
Ahead of the Inauguration, National Guard Troops in D.C. Can Lean on USO
As members of the National Guard answer the call of duty in our nation’s capital in the coming days for the 59th presidential inauguration, the USO is there to strengthen and support them as they carry out their mission.