NFL Players Spend Their Off-Season in Southwest Asia

NFL players (L) Mario Williams-Houston Texans, Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns (L-next to Williams), Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (center) and Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (kneeling next to Witten) pose with the entire crew supporting the defensive missile system, March 3, 2010. On an eight-day, nine-base USO tour the four players are on a mission to visit with troops, sign autographs and boost morale. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL player Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys poses for a photo with Cowboys fans ontop of a Humvee proudly displaying a Cowboys flag, which Witten later autographed, March 3, 2010. Traveling on his first USO tour Witten is joined by fellow NFL All Stars Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers, Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns and Mario Williams-Houston Texans. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players (L-R) Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns, Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (background-green), Mario Williams-Houston Texans (R-Center), and Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (R) sign autographs for the crew of a C-17 cargo aircraft at the airbase, March 3, 2010. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

Mario Williams-Houston Texans gets a bird's eye view from the pilots seat of a C-17 while Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys talks shop with Captain Paul Tucker. The NFL players are traveling on their first USO tour and are joined by fellow NFL All Stars Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers and Joe Thomas- Cleveland Browns, March 3, 2010. Traveling to nine bases in eight days the players will visit with troops, sign autographs and extend their thanks. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players Joe Thomas-Cleveland Brown (C) and Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (R) get a tour of an RC 135/JSTARS aircraft from a service member, March 3, 2010. The two Pro Bowl players are joined by fellow Pro Bowlers Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers and Mario Williams-Houston Texans on their first USO tour, traveling to nine bases in eight days the players will sign autographs, participate in meet and greets and extend their grattitude to troops. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players Jason Witten-Dallas Cowbys (L), Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns (L-middle), Mario Williams-Houston Texans (R-middle) and Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (R) pose for a group shot with the ground and air crew of a RC 135/JSTARS aircraft behind them, March 3, 2010. The four NFL All Stars are taking part in their first USO tour, traveling to nine bases in eight days to boost morale, sign autographs and extend their thanks to America's troops. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (L-middle), Joe Thomas-Cleveland Browns(Left), Mario Williams-Houston Texans (R-middle) and Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (R) peer out the cargo door of a KC135-Aerial Tanker as they touchdown in the Persian Gulf, March 3, 2010. The NFL 2010 All Star players are traveling on their first USO tour, the players will trek to nine bases in eight days to boost morale and bring a touch of home to troops. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

NFL players Vernon Davis-San Francisco 49ers (L), Mario Williams-Houston Texans (L-middle), Joe Thomas-Cleveland Brown (R-middle) and Jason Witten-Dallas Cowboys (R) pose for a photo with the crew of the B-i Bombers, March 3, 2010. The 2010 NFL All Stars are traveling on an eight-day, nine-base trek through the Persian Gulf on a mission to boost morale and extend their thanks to America's troops. (USO Photo by Dave Gatley)

Volunteer of the Year – Second Quarter Nominees

To recognize the outstanding contributions of our volunteers, USO centers from our four operating regions—Stateside, Europe, Southwest Asia, and the Pacific—nominate a volunteer for “Volunteer of the Quarter” four times a year.  This individual has gone above and beyond in supporting our troops and demonstrating their commitment to the USO mission. From this group of outstanding volunteers a “Volunteer of the Year” is then selected for each region, and, from these nominees comes the USO Volunteer of the Year is selected and honored at our annual gala.

Here are the 2nd Quarter Volunteer Nominees!

HM1 Katherine Chih – Europe USO Volunteer of the Quarter
Hospital Corpsman First Class Katherine Chih is a familiar face at the USO Warrior Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. During her full-time job duties, she assists Coalition Forces, contractors and non-combat injured service members, with total patient care 12-14 hours a day, five days a week. She also is the Navy lead for the Family Readiness Group.

Despite these huge responsibilities, Katherine still finds time to serve troops by volunteering at the USO. She comes to the center during her lunch hour to assist the staff with midday Distinguished Visitors, host luncheons for the wounded or simply answer phones when staff members are busy. She has come to know many of the wounded on a personal level due to her dedication both on and off duty.  The USO Warrior Center is honored to select Katherine Chih as Volunteer of the Quarter for the Europe region.

Eric Barth – Southwest Asia USO Volunteer of the Quarter
Eric Barth is a valued member of USO Qatar. With more than 700 volunteer hours, Eric is one of the center’s most dependable. His commitment to the USO is invaluable, and his dedication is displayed in his efforts to keeping the center running smoothly at all times. As a member of the base Security Forces, Eric is on-call with the military 24-hours a day, yet spends most of his spare time volunteering with the USO.

Eric not only learned behind-the-counter processes such as checking out games and movies, but he also is instrumental in assisting service members as they tape United Through Reading® Military Program recordings. His technology expertise is helpful in ensuring that the center’s gaming stations are operating properly. Eric also is responsible for setting up Pro vs. GI Joe matches and weekly gaming tournaments, events that boost service member morale.  Eric goes above and beyond any and all expectations of what a USO volunteer stands for, and truly deserves the title of USO Southwest Asia’s Volunteer of the Quarter.

Sanae Ogawa – Pacific USO Volunteer of the Quarter
Affectionately known as “Sunny” by her peers and center colleagues, Sanae Ogawa volunteers nearly 90 hours a month to the USO. Her local connections have proved vital persuading local businesses to financially support the USO.  During the Thanksgiving holiday celebration, she volunteered to help serve more than 250 single and unaccompanied sailors. During the annual Cookie Caravan event, she helped bake and distribute more than 4,000 bags of homemade cookies.

Sanae also was an integral part of USO Sasebo’s “Christmas Talk With Your Mouth Full” event, arriving at 5:30 a.m. to help set up and feed more than 300 sailors on Christmas morning. She continuously demonstrates her commitment to the USO and our men and woen in uniform. We congratulate her on being the Pacific region’s Volunteer of the Quarter.

Herb Schmeling – United States USO Volunteer of the Quarter
USO Puget Sound Area (USO PSA) volunteer, Herb Schmeling continuously gives his all to the USO, putting our nation’s service members first. As one of the center’s most committed volunteers, he regularly gives 60-80 hours a month, and is always available at a moments notice. He represents USO PSA at Combined Federal Campaign events and Family Deployment Fairs, making sure the Fort McChord military community is aware of USO PSA’s programs and services. He was also instrumental in successful Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives, helping serve holiday meals to more than 400 military families.

Affectionately called the “Godfather of Fort Lewis,” Herb was honored for his exceptional efforts, being selected as Fort Lewis’ Volunteer of the Year for 2008.  USO PSA is extremely thankful for the commitment and enthusiasm that Herb displays on an ongoing basis. He inspires everyone around him and is an excellent pick for the Stateside Volunteer of the Quarter!