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USO Naples Named Top Overall Center at TellUSO Awards

Thursday, May 02, 2013

By Eric Brandner 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Apparently, it’s the sailors who have it the best.

USO Naples took home the Top Overall Center trophy at the first TellUSO Awards ceremony Wednesday night at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The center, located in a strategic port on Italy’s west coast, is the USO hub for Naval Support Activity Naples and also supports Sixth Fleet ships that come through the region.

“We have a volunteer committee of 55, and I think that’s what makes it so special to me because this really represents the work that they do – that we all do together every day,” said USO Naples Area Director Sabrina Pullido. “It’s going to be an honor for me to tell them this when I get back home on Friday.”

The TellUSO Awards are based on the results of the 2012 TellUSO Sound Off Survey, which polled more than 16,000 troops and families worldwide on the USO’s performance. The USO has used those results each of the last four years to measure performance and guide priorities and programming in its 160 centers worldwide. This year, it took the extra step of formally recognizing its top performing centers in an award ceremony at the USO Leadership Conference.

Former Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey (Ret.) gave the keynote address before the ceremony and country artist Kix Brooks performed two songs to round out the night.

Navy Adm. Bruce Clingan, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe, announced the Top Overall Center award via a video message played at the ceremony.

“The USO continues to be indispensible to our military’s mission,” Clingan said.

Pullido was quick to point out that she didn’t win the award on her own, heaping praise on USO Europe Regional Vice President Walt Murren and USO Naples Operations Manager Luisa Mazzella and the rest of the staff and volunteers.

She made three trips to the stage in all, picking up the Europe Top Large Center award for Naples and also snagging the Europe Top Small Center award for USO Rome, which is also in her area of responsibility.

Here’s a full list of the winners:

Top Overall Center 

  • Naples, Italy

Most Improved Centers 

  • Naval Station Norfolk (Va.)
  • Kandahar, Afghanistan
  • Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

Top Up and Coming Centers 

  • Indianapolis Airport
  • Northwest Florida Regional Airport
  • San Jose (Calif.) Airport

Europe 

  • Top Small Center: Rome
  • Top Large Center: Naples, Italy

Pacific 

  • Top Small Center: Camp Humphreys, South Korea
  • Top Large Center: Guam

Southwest Asia 

  • Top Small Center: Camp Virginia, Kuwait
  • Top Large Center: Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

United States 

  • Top Center Small (Airport): Gulfport-Biloxi (Miss.)
  • Top Center Medium (Airport): Las Vegas
  • Top Center Large (Airport): Charlotte Douglas International Airport (N.C.)
  • Top Center Small (Installation): Fort Meade (Md.)
  • Top Center Medium (Installation): Fort Campbell (Ky.)
  • Top Center Large (Installation): Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Wash.)
  • Top Center (Metro): San Antonio Downtown

* * *

Photo caption: A contingent from USO Europe gathers around USO Naples Area Director Sabrina Pullido, center, after the Naples center took home the Top Overall Center honor at Wednesday's TellUSO Awards in Nashville, Tenn. (USO photo by Amanda Van Sandt) 

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