Volunteer of the Year – Third 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!

Soraya Franklin – Europe Region USO Volunteer of the Quarter

Raised in a military family, Soraya Franklin knows what it means for a service member to be on the move. And she understands the needs of troops and their families. “We need to ensure this is a five-star facility,” is Sonaya’s constant mantra about USO Vicenza. Her standards are high, and she leads by example rather than just words. Along with working three jobs and volunteering with the Vicenza Community Club and Vicenza’s City Library, she still dedicates at least two hours a day to USO Vicenza.

During a six-week period that the USO Vicenza was closed for renovations, Sonaya volunteered more than 70 hours, working hard to get the USO reopened for business.  Although the renovation of USO Vicenza was unexpected, Sonaya never missed a beat. She seized the opportunity and embraced the challenge of improving the center so that it would be ready to serve its community.  Her honor and loyalty are sincerely appreciated and we are happy to name her Europe’s Volunteer of the Quarter.

Petty Officer First Class Jeffery Reed – United States Region USO Volunteer of the Quarter

When Petty Officer First Class Jeffery Reed could no longer fulfill his daily obligations to the military, he became a USO volunteer. Since August 2009, PO1 Reed has been the lead volunteer for the USO Gulf Coast’s Navy Construction Battalion Center (NCNB) in Gulfport, MS.

Demonstrating the same drive and dedication he has always given to his more than 20 years of military service, PO1 Reed took charge in helping the center relocate.  His efforts saved USO Gulf Coast large amounts of money on consulting fees.

Reed’s positive leadership and mentoring are great examples to his fellow volunteers.  Under his volunteer leadership, the volunteer turnover rate for the USO lounge on NCBC is the lowest it has ever been.  He is a positive example of service for USO staff and volunteers alike. We applaud PO1 Reed on being Volunteer of the Quarter!

Vanessa Engelhardt – Southwest Asia Region USO Volunteer of the Quarter

Sailors and Marines visiting USO Dubai are always happy to meet Vanessa Engelhardt, a dedicated center volunteer. Born in Australia and raised in Germany, Vanessa uses her background to break the ice with center visitors, making them feel comfortable and at home.

USO Dubai is unique because it isn’t open daily. However, when a U.S. Naval ship pulls into port, up to 1,000 sailors and Marines can descend on the center in short order. During these times, Vanessa usually volunteers every day for regular seven-hour shifts.  Center visitors enjoy the baked goods that Vanessa has waiting for them when a ship comes into port. For a service member who has been out to sea for weeks, or even months, a fresh cookie or brownie made with lots of TLC can mean so much!  She loves to help out in any way possible and we congratulate her on being Southwest Asia’s Volunteer of the Quarter!

Master Sergeant Shane Price – Pacific Region USO Volunteer of the Quarter

Master Sergeant Shane Price knows a thing or two about big projects. As a flight chief at Osan Air Base, not only does he keep his entire squadron operating smoothly, but he has recruited fellow airmen to volunteer more than 1,500 hours during special events like Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band Concert, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Holiday Show, and most recently the Sesame Street/USO Experience.

MSgt. Price was instrumental in the planning and initial implementation of the Virtues Outreach Program in Songtan, South Korea. This program promotes stronger ties between the U.S. military and local Korean community through English language instruction. He also ensures volunteer staffing for every day tasks, and his efforts greatly contribute to USO Osan consistently having the highest number of volunteer in Korea. Price’s volunteer contributions are extensive, and his dedication to the USO and commitment to the Korean—American partnership is an inspiration to all he meets. Congrats on being USO Pacific’s Volunteer of the Quarter!

News & Notes from Around the World

On 29 April, 2010 the CASF USO hosted nine cartoonist from the National Cartoonist Society.  Approximately  50 patients and CASF staff members joined in the fun by having their caricatures drawn as well as their favorite cartoon characters.  The evening was sweetened by a variety desserts.  A great time was had by all.

A servicemember has his likeness done in caricature by one of the visiting cartoonists.

At USO Hawaii, Marines and a Corpsman from the Wounded Warrior Detachment, Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii were treated to chartered deep sea fishing through USO’s Operation Enduring Care program on Friday April 3.  The sport fishing charter left the Marine Corps Community Service Outdoor Recreation marina promptly at 7 a.m. for the six-hour excursion.  The Wounded Warriors spent the day casting and reeling.  The charter’s captain and his crew were available to assist with the warriors’ catch of the day.

It was a good day for fishing with (left to right) HM2 David Provost, LCpl Perry Crawford, LCpl Blaze Cox, LCpl Jason Grivas, Cpl Beau Parra, Sgt Jacob Cash, and members of the boat's crew.

Sather AB recently hosted a ping-pong tournament.  It was a hard-fought competition taken very seriously by all the 16 finalists.  Sponsored by the USO, the three winners received AAFES gift cards and they must have needed to buy something very special at the PX because they fought long and hard for these prizes!

A1C Josep (l) came in third and MSG Smith (r) came in second. We can't even see the ball!

And finally, here’s a special shoutout all the way from Afghanistan to the USO for our support of the upcoming Warrior Games in Colorado.  Hoo-rah!

more about “DVIDS Warrior Games Group“, posted with vodpod