This poem was written by the staff at Camp Virginia, Kuwait, to capture in one simple phrase – Eyes Light Up or “ELU” – their every day experiences at the USO Center there. We hope you enjoy…
“We love it at the USO. We get to see that our services are offering soldiers a bit of unexpected good luck; a touch of serendipity. It may be something small or simple, but we know we’ve done something right when we watch their eyes light up.
Soldier: How long is the wait for the phone?
Us: You can get on one right now.
Soldier: I don’t have a calling card.
Us: You don’t need a calling card; just hop on.
Soldier: I’ve used all of my Spaware minutes.
Us: You don’t need Spaware minutes. Our phones are direct dial.
Soldier: Do you mean I can sit down and call my husband right now?
Us: Yes, ma’am. Soldier’s ELU.
Solider: I heard you’re open until 18:00.
Us: No sir. We are open until zero-six, not six o’clock.
Us: Yes, sir. The book goes home along with your recording. Soldier’s ELU.
Soldier: So I just take this and mail it?
Us: No, sir. We will mail it for you. Soldier’s ELU.
Soldier: So how much does it cost?
Us: It’s free, sir. Everything in our USO is free. Soldier’s ELU.
Soldier: The movie is over. How do I find out what’s playing next in the cinema?
Us: You are welcome to pick the next movie. Just give us the name and number from our list.
Soldier: What time do I have to be here to do a UTR?
Us: Any time we are open.
Soldier: Is there a long wait? Us: No, sir. You are welcome to do a UTR rig
Us: Ma’am, here’s your “cocktail.” It’s Happy Hour at the USO.
Soldier: Are we allowed to bring food in here?
Soldier: Do you have a deck of cards I can borrow?
Us: [Pointing to six decks of cards on the desk.] Take and keep as many as you want.
Soldier: How long is the wait for the Internet.
Us: You can hop on right now. Soldier’s ELU.
Of course there as many occasions for the Camp Virginia Duty Managers’ eyes to light up:
When four troops return their Wii game and they are all laughing and dripping with sweat, our ELU.
When we find someone snoring on the couch for 90 minutes, our ELU.
When the Colonel sends UTRs home to his children or comes in to play Xbox with the Major, our ELU.
When the movie is over and 40 people exit the cinema, just like a theater in the States, our ELU.
When the Center is full and quiet with people reading, watching TV, playing board games, chatting and relaxing, our ELU.
When the CSM tells us that she has suggested to all new arrivals at Camp Virginia that they visit the USO because they will be in for a treat, our ELU.
When the Center is full and loud with people playing video games, dominoes, watching action movies and whooping, our ELU.
When everyone is watching football games on AFN and the crowd roars with enthusiasm or groans in despair, our ELU.
When a soldier finds a friend who he hasn’t seen in months, our ELU.
Any time troops laugh, our ELU.
We’re at the USO and we have the best “jobs” in the world; our goal is to make people happy. Every day, at least a few times a day, our ELU! Life just doesn’t get better than that.”