If you are ever in the barracks on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) in Anchorage, Alaska, you may run into a USO volunteer walking around in a blue and white tutu. Chances are, she’ll have a tray full of cupcakes in one hand and a FaceTiming phone in the other, so an eager set of parents can see their service member child receive a birthday surprise in real-time.
This tutu-touting cupcake deliverer is none other than Sam Joubert, a four-year volunteer with the USO. With her strong family tie to the military, Joubert felt a calling to volunteer with the USO.
“I’ve always been patriotic because my entire family has been in the military,” Joubert said. “My son is currently stationed at Whidbey Island serving in the Navy, my dad was a Selous Scout, my grandpa was in the Royal Air Force and my other grandpa was in the Rhodesian Army.”
Joubert works in property management when she is not spending her free time helping the USO with a number of other events. On any given day she might be helping run the USO center, hosting holiday BBQs, or conducting middle-of-the-night runs to the airport to welcome arriving service members home.
Sign up to get more USO stories delivered right to your inbox!
A Commitment to Cake and Service Members
Before volunteering with the USO, Joubert had already been delivering birthday cakes with another nonprofit. After becoming a USO volunteer, she quickly learned about USO Operation Birthday Cake and she knew it was the program for her.
“The appreciation from the parents is my favorite part of doing the cake deliveries,“ she said. "I connect and coordinate with them leading up to the cake deliveries to their service members.”
If you are ever lucky enough to join Joubert on one of her cake deliveries, you can see that she feels the excitement alongside the parents as she surprises soldiers and airmen with some sweet treats. By coordinating with military leadership, Joubert always makes sure that the service member’s friends are present to wish them a “Happy Birthday” and, of course, to share cake.
“I love that she dresses up in her tutu and makes sure that each service member has a special experience for their birthday,” said JBER USO Center Operations Supervisor Barb Knack. “And she makes sure that the family gets to be involved with photos and video. She is an amazing volunteer!”
When asked what one of her favorite moments of impacts is, Joubert explained that she is most looking forward to an upcoming delivery to a service member who works in Labor and Delivery at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Hospital and is herself seven months pregnant.
“I’m going to make her a blanket that incorporates the USO for the baby,” Joubert said.
We at USO Alaska are so thankful for volunteers like Sam Joubert, who make programs like USO Operation Birthday Cake that much more exciting and meaningful for our service members!
More Stories Like This
Dedicated Operation Birthday Cake Volunteer in Guam Gets Help from USO Family in Hawaii
This military spouse and Navy mom's USO story came full circle when she tapped her fellow USO Pacific team members to surprise her deployed son with an Operation Birthday Cake surprise in Hawaii.
COVID-19, an Extended Deployment and Ruined Birthday Plans: How One Couple Still Celebrated with a Facebook Birthday Fundraiser
One military couple didn't let an a deployment extension, thanks to COVID-19, stop them from celebrating a birthday. Instead, they used it as an opportunity to raise over $1200 for the USO with Facebook Birthday Fundraisers.
3,000 Celebrations and Counting: USO Okinawa Delivers for Deployed Marine on his Birthday
Marine Staff Sgt. Dustin Johnson, who's deployed to Okinawa, Japan, turned 29 earlier this week. He thought he was invited to lunch at USO Camp Hansen and had no idea he was showing up to his own birthday party.
More from the USO
Apr 19, 2021
NFL Super Bowl Champion 'Gronk' Meets with Soldiers Deployed to Poland Virtually Through the USO MVP Champions Series
Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski talked to service members deployed to eastern Europe through a USO MVP Champions series event, boosting morale and offering troops the opportunity to speak one-on-one with an NFL Super Bowl Champion.