On their Facebook page today, USO Basra is celebrating their volunteers with “Thank You’s” and a treat at the front desk.  In that spirit of gratitude, we want to extend a special thanks to those volunteers and everyone else at COB Basra for pulling together in the wake of a building fire - cause by a rocket launch - that resulted in destruction of property, but thankfully no serious injuries.

Fifteen occupants lost all of their possessions in the fire, but - as Maj. Michael Cobb, the executive officer for Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, told Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Smith, 1st Inf. Div., USD-S PAO for Blackanthem News - people and organizations from across the base quickly mobilized to meet the needs of the displaced individuals.

[caption id=“attachment_3407” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“The door of USO Basra is always open, 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. Come on in!”][/caption]

The USO immediately stepped up, providing whatever they could from the PX to augment the items that were destroyed.

“I’m hoping that by me taking care of that little nuisance for them then it will take that little burden off,” Valerie Burnham, the Center Manager for Basra, told Staff Sgt. Smith.  Burnham, a 24-year veteran who retired from the U.S. Navy last year, said her own service ingrained in her a sense of responsibility to help others.

“You see people in trouble, you want to do something about it,” she said. “It’s my human nature now, after being in the military for so long.”

Thank you, Valerie, and all of your staff and volunteers, and to everyone else at COB Basra who turned a tough situation into something that shows the best of the human spirit.  Stay safe, and we’ll see you back home soon…