An Army Veteran Who Has Lived a Life of Service is Recognized at USO Fort Cavazos

By Janecze Wright

Since 1941, USO Volunteers have been the heart of our organization, coming from different walks of life that inspire them to give back to our nation’s military community. Many volunteers are veterans who spent years serving our country before giving back to the next generation of service members through the USO. USO Fort Cavazos recently took the opportunity to recognize a longtime USO volunteer for years of selfless service to his local military community.

Thomas Vornbrock, or “Mr. Tom” as he is affectionately called by his peers at the USO, was presented the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award alongside other extraordinary soldiers being honored during the Fort Cavazos Sgt. Audie Murphy Club Induction Ceremony in May 2024.

With more than 6,000 volunteer hours, Mr. Tom has become a staple at USO Fort Cavazos. | Photo credit USO Photo

After serving 21 years in the military, Mr. Tom continued his life of service – now to those in uniform – through volunteering at the USO for the past eight years and logging more than 6,000 volunteer hours.

“I saw a need, and I answered,” he said humbly. “I hope I’m making a little bit of a difference, something [soldiers] can shoot for.”

Mr. Tom shared that what he enjoys most about volunteering is talking to the troops, adding that he hopes he is setting a good example, and that they can benefit from his experience.

“A little bit of knowledge that someone that is former military can still do things for them and give back,” he said.

A man of few words, the USO team more than made up for his modest reaction to being recognized with endless accolades for a man they consider an organization treasure.

“We absolutely love him,” said Patti Reece, a USO Fort Cavazos center operations specialist . “He volunteers at least three days a week, six to eight hours a day. He knows the soldiers when they come in. He knows the USO inside and out, and seeing what he does influences others to want to volunteer.”

Melissa Aguilar, a USO transition specialist, agreed.

“Mr. Tom is just phenomenal,” she said. “He has great passion, and every time he comes in, he’s ready to share stories and life lessons with everybody. So, he’s just great to have around the USO, and he’s just awesome to be around.”

Patti added Mr. Tom is passionate about the military, often sharing memories of his years as an Army soldier and encouraging the younger generation of soldiers to persevere through the many challenges of an Army career, and stay the course through retirement.

The USO Fort Cavazos team has always shown their appreciation for Mr. Tom’s dedication to the USO. | Photo credit USO Photo

She said this honor is just a small way to show Mr. Tom how big of an impact his contribution has made.

“It’s important to honor him because he’s put in so many hours, and he’s just a dedicated person,” Patti said. “He loves the USO, he loves the service members that come in and he just wants to be a part of it.”

Volunteers are the cornerstone of the USO, and Mr. Tom has established a legacy of selfless service for generations to follow. As he looks to the future, he said he has no intentions of slowing down.

“I’m going to go as far as I can,” he said. “I’ll even have my walker if I need it.”

And USO Fort Cavazos wouldn’t have it any other way.

-This story was orignally published on It has been edited for

Are you interested in giving back to the people who serve and volunteering with the USO? Learn more about what it means to be a USO Volunteer and if there’s a USO Center near you by clicking here!

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