PHOTOS: USO Camp Humphries Lends Hand to Korean Orphanage
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The arms of the USO embrace everyone and the hands of the USO are ready to pitch in and help anyone in need and USO Camp Humphries in Korea exemplified those fine qualities.
USO Camp Humphries Center Manager Tami Hager reached out to the Cheonhye Orphanage in Pyeongtaek to ask if what needs, if any, they had. Excited and grateful, the orphanage responded with requests of essentials like Korean brand shampoos and toilet paper for the 77 children who live there. Hager and her staff posted the request on Facebook, collected the materials and planned the 30-minute trip to deliver the goods on Aug. 21 and assist in whatever ways they could.
"The plan is to go to the orphanage at least every six weeks," Hager said. “Once this program becomes regular, we will be able to run programs with our volunteers for the children."
When they arrived, a steady downpour may have dampened efforts to tidy the outside yards, but it did not keep the USO staff and volunteers from sharing their time and lending a hand to those in need.
USO volunteer Craig Cameron helps wheel out broken furniture from the orphanage.
"It poured while we were moving the furniture outside! And strangely, we all enjoyed it very much," said USO Camp Humphries Programs Coordinator Arisae Ryu.
From left to right, USO volunteers Leah Roa, Cameron, Kurt Smith, Antoan Burke and Sheena Kerr-Freeman take a quick second for a team photo.
"We take a lot for granted and it really is nice to visit and interact with people who are so appreciative with the little things in life," Smith said. "It just really makes you feel good when you see them smile and laugh."
From left to right, Burke, Roa and Kerr-Freeman sit and help a boy with his school work. Burke said the kids, aged 9-13, showed a true interest in their lives and were quite inquisitive.
"It feels good that I can have a positive impact on people by doing something as simple as volunteering a couple of hours of my time," he said.
The staff welcomed and kindly invited the team to have dinner with the kids at their cafeteria after they were done volunteering. Burke, left, and Cameron share a meal of fried chicken, bean sprouts salad, spinach salad, spicy tofu soup and rice with some of the kids.
A child in the chow line takes a second to share his thanks to the USO crew.
"I will remember the smiles and laughs of the kids that we visited," Smith said. "I will remember moving furniture in the rain. It was also a bonding experience with the USO staff and volunteers. I really look to the next opportunity to visit the orphanage."
"[The visit] shows that the USO cares about the military, family members and also cares about the community," Smith said. "The USO really is a caring network of love and support."
Burke seconded Smith.
"I think it shows why the USO has been around as long as it has and it says the USO has a long tradition of providing quality volunteers and outstanding community service."
* Click over to USO Camp Humphries Facebook page to see more images from the Cheonhye orphanage visit.
(Photos by Arisae Ryu. Produced by Christian Pelusi)
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