How a Service Member’s Mom Gives Back to the Military Through Cake and the USO

Catherine Moore

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.

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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.

Photo credit USO Photo

Sam Joubert FaceTimes the parents of an Operation Birthday Cake recipient so they can watch the delivery and celebration.

“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.

Sam Joubert poses with an Operation Birthday Cake recipient. | Photo credit USO Photo

“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!

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