By Kayla Clark
When talking about the people who serve in the military, we often discuss the challenges of being far from home. After all, their service to our country often requires them to leave behind hometowns, parents, friends, siblings, spouses, children … the sacrifices they make means that they are often separated from the places and people that they love.
But as an immigrant from Nigeria, Job Ojo has long experienced what it’s like to be far from home. And then he joined the U.S. Army.
Job is originally from Ogbomoso, Nigeria, where he was the last born of eight children in his family. He spent his adolescence and early adulthood growing up there, later earning a bachelor’s degree in Technology. Eventually, after much hard work and perseverance, Job pursued the opportunity to travel to the United States in 2010 for a graduate program in Industrial Management and Technology at Central Michigan University.
While in graduate school, Job served as a graduate teaching assistant, where he truly enjoyed teaching American students and helping them in their academic journey. He fell in love with the United States, the opportunities and the people. After graduating with his degree, Job relocated to Chicago to begin his career, which is where he learned more about other ways to serve and give back to others – including through joining the U.S. military.
As Job learned more about military service and the impact that he could make for a country that he so appreciated and loved, he decided to join the U.S. Army and officially began basic training on August 12, 2013.
“I am forever thankful for the privilege to serve and am grateful for all the blessings that have accompanied it,” Job explained of his decision to join the military.
Over his past ten years of service, Job has served as a 92Y, Unit Supply Specialist, in many locations around the country and world, including Colorado, Texas, California, Kuwait, Poland, Afghanistan and now Germany.
With his passion for giving back, he has also held numerous volunteer positions, serving as an Equal Opportunity Leader, Physical Security Officer, Safety Officer and Government Purchase and Procurement Representative – all in addition to serving with the USO as a volunteer.
Throughout his years in the military, through the many moves from his home country to his new one, through the many deployments and duty stations, there has been one constant by his side: the USO.
How the USO has been with Job, every step of the way
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit the USO Grafenwoehr Center in Germany, you may have been greeted by Job, smiling from behind the counter. Job has been a volunteer with the USO since 2015 and has served well over 1,000 hours in multiple locations that he has been stationed or deployed to, including Kuwait, Colorado and now Grafenwoehr, Germany.
But regardless of which of the USO’s 250+ Centers around the globe he has volunteered at, the familiar sight of the organization’s red, white and blue sign above the door has become far more than just a volunteer job – the USO has been a consistent place for him to turn to for nearly a decade.
“The USO seems to be a safe place for me,” shared Job. “I have always enjoyed the serenity, the calmness of the environment, and the lots and lots of fun programs that make me feel good. After volunteering, I get back home and feel good and sleep well. I have enjoyed the reading programs a lot, especially during overseas deployments. That’s one of the ways I connect with my son who has always been far away for many years.”
Job has continued to go above and beyond to give back to those around him, even after a full day of his regular military duties. He has done everything from keeping the USO Center open outside of normal operating hours so that his fellow service members could watch the World Cup live, to preparing a homemade, African-style Thanksgiving dinner for over 80 service members and their military families.
And through it all, fellow members of his military community have been greeted by his welcoming smile.
“His positive energy and contagious smile have helped draw in new volunteers to our team,” the USO Grafenwoehr team shared. “Job is reliable, provides excellent quality of work in whatever tasks he completes and exhibits a ‘down to Earth’ attitude with every person that he encounters.”
Job is also well-known for being hardworking in everything that he does, from his work in the Army to his volunteer work with the USO.
“He is constantly giving back to his community, whether through coaching soccer or doing USO volunteer work. I know that I can always count on Job to do any tasks that needs to be done. He always does a great job,” said Madison Elliott, USO Grafenwoehr Center Operations Specialist.
USO Grafenwoehr Center Operations Manager Nicole Andreski explained how grateful the USO team is to have service members like Job volunteering for the USO. After all, in the United States, generous military supporters often dedicate their free time to volunteering with the organization – but while overseas, the USO must rely on service members and military spouses stationed there to assist in providing USO services to the military community.
Having a USO volunteer like Job can make all the difference in creating a welcoming environment at USO Centers, which are intended to serve as a home away from home for the people who serve, and their families, all around the globe.
“He always encourages and teaches other volunteers. Job’s attitude is always positive, and his uplifting energy is contagious.”
Job’s life and professional journey is an inspiration for many. Not only has he earned the title of USO Grafenwoehr’s Volunteer of the Month in January 2023, he was also awarded the United States Army Garrison (USAG) Bavaria Volunteer of the Year.
Not only has Job given so much for his local military communities through volunteering with the USO, but the organization has actually been there with Job along each step of his military career, and even now through our USO Transition program, assisting Job in preparing for his upcoming separation from the Army.
From Colorado to Kuwait to Germany, the USO has been intertwined throughout Job’s life and career and with him every step of the way. And so now it’s only fitting that, as Job prepares to separate from service to be closer to his son and start this next journey of his life, he has enlisted the help of the USO Transition Program through this final step in his military career.
The USO Transition Program assists service members and military spouses with resources for employment, education, mentoring, VA benefits and financial readiness. This program is designed to assist the people who serve and their families as they begin the process of returning to civilian life.
Over the last four months, Job has been working one-on-one with a USO Transition Specialist, who has helped him by creating a customized action plan and checklist of resources and tasks to help him prepare for his upcoming separation from the military. Job has been connected to a year-long mentor, has gained assistance with his resume, has learned how to improve his LinkedIn and the power of networking, and simply has found a support system and coach to be there with him through this journey.
When asked what he likes about the USO program, Job shared, “I fell in love with the outstanding, selfless service they provide to each service member.”
“Job has been an incredible client to work with,” shared Kayla Clark, USO EMEA Transition Specialist. “He is dedicated to his plan and actively is working towards his goals. He holds himself accountable, comes prepared to each meeting with updates, and has taken full advantage of the resources and services available to him. I’m so proud of all he’s accomplished so far, and I can’t wait to see all he’s going to accomplish in the next chapter ahead.”
The USO and the military communities he has supported are certainly grateful to Job for his outstanding service over the last eight years. We are honored to be able to support him in return as he transitions out of formal military service.
The USO is here for the people who serve, and our goal is to support them every step along the way. From Colorado to Kuwait, Afghanistan and Germany – and from the moment they enlist, to the day they finally take off their uniform, we are always there alongside them.
More Stories Like This
Nigerian Immigrant and U.S. Army Soldier Celebrates Receiving Her U.S. Citizenship with the USO
Beauty Osemwegie, originally from Nigeria, has served several years in the U.S. Army, but only recently was able to become a U.S. citizen. Far from home and loved ones, she had no one to commemorate the occasion with -- that is, until the USO stepped up and helped her celebrate.
How a U.S. Soldier and USO Volunteer in Honduras Helped Lay the Foundation for a New USO Center
Meet U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael D. Smith Jr.: an active-duty service member who spent his downtime during deployment to Soto Cano, Honduras, by serving as a USO Volunteer - and helped establish the USO's first-ever center in Honduras.
How a Soldier Deployed to Iraq Gave Back to His Fellow Service Members as a USO Volunteer
Spc. Luke Dawson, a U.S. Army National Guard soldier deployed to Iraq, decided to make the best of his deployment by dedicating all of his free time to volunteering with the USO in support of his fellow service members. His dedication and hours of volunteer work earned him the award of 2021 USO Volunteer of the Year (OCONUS).
More from the USO
Dec 7, 2023
5 Ways Americans Can Deliver a Piece of Home to Troops During the Holidays
Every holiday season, service members stationed around the world are making sacrifices on behalf of their country while far from loved ones. If you are asking yourself how you can deliver the holiday spirit to the people who serve thousands of miles away, here are five ways you can deliver a piece of home to service members during the holidays.
Nov 21, 2023
Is the USO a Nonprofit? Yes!
At the USO, we talk a lot about the people who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces because they are the ones in need of support, and they are the ones who deserve the spotlight. However, we sometimes don’t talk enough about who we are as an organization, and whether or not the USO is a nonprofit. Yes - the USO is, in fact, a nonprofit, non-government organization and we rely on generous donors like you to fuel our support of the nation’s military.